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Portuguese author Antonio Lobo Antunes is the author of more than twenty books , including the novels The Return of the Caravels, Knowledge. António Lobo Antunes's “Land at the End of the. World,” set in Angola in the early s, as Portugal's ludicrous effort to preserve its African. fado alexandrino antunes antonio pdf. "Two years ago Lobo Antunes pissed people off by making the unarguable statement that by the time he was 40, about .
It is a story of love and sex in the painful ambiguity that marks us all. It is a bizarre story of a man and a woman who have met in a bar and go home together for meaningless sex that he wants to give some sort of meaning to while recounting his story of war and what it has done to him. And, yes, this is poetry.
He unfolds his story in a sea of words using every literary device necessary to charm and hold the reader, while sparing none of the detail. I might add that, as usual, Margaret Jull Costa has performed her translation role like a master of skill by bringing another's words to life.
For all of the pain and agony portrayed, for all of the despair and self hatred revealed, the language can be beautiful. As I read, I had to stop often to take in the images, both cruel and loving, to absorb the content in all of its lush humanity.
I will let some of these words speak for themselves. I shall randomly chose sentences from different parts of the book.
The sentences are often long, stream of consciousness sentences. Read them patiently, as you would poetry. Remember also that the author was a conscripted doctor serving in that war.
Read them aloud if you can: '"At least doing his military service will make a man of him" 'This vigorous prophecy, muttered throughout my childhood and adolescence by false teeth of indisputable authority, continued to be delivered in strident tones at canasta tables, where the females of the clan provided a pagan counterweight to Sunday Mass at two centavos a point, a nominal sum that served as a way of venting, by playing the winning card, ancient enmities patiently secreted over the years.
Doctor, you're needed, someone had stepped on an antipersonnel mine on the path, we drove three miles in the Mercedes truck as fast as we could and found the squad in a clearing with Corporal Paulo lying on the ground moaning with nothing below his knee but a mangled bloody pulp, nothing else mister president and messieurs eunuchs, nothing, imagine mister president what it would be like to suddenly lose a part of yourself, yes, the legitimate descendants of Cabral and Da Gama disappearing in fractions an ankle an arm a length of intestine your balls your beloved balls blown away, he died in combat the newspaper says but this is what it really means to die you sons-of-bitches.
I happened to walk into the sergeants' bathroom, into the eternally flooded, stinking pigsty known as the sergeants' bathroom, and saw the officer clutching the prisoner to him in a kind of epileptic frenzy, the shy, silent girl was leaning against the tiled wall, her eyes blank, and above their heads, through the window, the plain opened out in a majestic fan of subtle shades of green, where one could make out the slow, zigzagging, almost metallic sheen of the river and the great peace of Angola at five in the afternoon, refracted through successively contradictory layers of mist.
He hates his country's fascist government. He hates the colonial inheritance he is there to defend.
He hates the poverty and destruction he sees in Angola, which is someone else's home. Mostly, he hates what it has done to him. He hates his own cowardice in participating, in not speaking up against that is wrong.
He hates that he has left part of his own humanity back in the jungle and cannot show his love to his now estranged wife, that he cannot provide a proper loving home to his daughter. He always wonders if his next book will be his last. He has since started writing again but still does not know what course it is going to take.
He has never reread any of his books — not in itself that exceptional among writers but neither does he do public readings. As a reader, Lobo Antunes holds the bar high.
He speaks warmly of contemporary writers he admires though those are few. Biography is what he mostly reads while writing — with fiction he finds he picks holes and ends up rewriting in his head — the biography he is currently looking forward to most is one of the 20th-century American crime writer and friend of P. Wodehouse, Rex Stout.
Sebald, who was a friend. On prompting, he also concedes Saul Bellow had some good stuff.
But for the most part there is little in contemporary fiction that interests him. It is certainly not the product of a narrow worldview — Lobo Antunes reads and speaks Spanish, Catalan, English, and French as well as his native language and he tells me he has taught himself enough Russian to be able to compare translations of his beloved Gogol and Chekhov.
He speaks particularly highly of English-language translators, placing them above those in the other languages he reads. His output has not let up, with a new book almost every year. Some of his back catalogue has also seen the light of day in English, with two books apiece issued by W.
Norton and Dalkey Archive in the past four years. Many of the eight he has written since have appeared in French, German, and Spanish, but not in English.
So why is he not better known in the English-speaking world?
Lobo Antunes himself is not too fazed. Stateside, he is far from a household name, but he does at least have the firm grounding for a major reputation. In all three cases their success in English was, significantly, posthumous.
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