God, this was awful. I wanted to punch that hateful little shit of a narrator/main character/Pessoa on the nose within the first ten pages of the book.
"Deep down, I did hate those people – the artists. That is, those false artists whose work consists of the poses they strike: saying outrageous things, cultivating complicated tastes and appetites, being artificial, irritating, [and] unbearable. People who, in fact, take from art only what is false and external.”
In “Lucio's Confession” by Mário de Sá-Carneiro, Margaret Jull Costa (translator)
From the street, two floors below my hotel window in a dreary urban business park slash hotel district, I heard desperate, blood chilling cries for help. I rushed to the window, expecting to see the victim of a hit and run car accident lying bloodied at the curb-side but instead, I saw a young man with a tear stained face wearing only a long sleeved, open-cuffed shirt walking this way and then that, each time with purpose, until the moment he changed his mind. Shouting, pleading with his hands outstretched. For a heartbreaking moment, I thought he looked like my estranged stepson.
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.
‘“Saudade,” said Maria do Carmo, “yearning. It isn’t a word, it’s a category of the spirit. Only the Portuguese are able to feel it, because they have this word in order to say they have it. A great poet said this.” And then she began to talk about Fernando Pessoa.’
In the short-story “The Backwards Game” taken from “Letter from Casablanca” by Antonio Tabucchi
The idea that some people aren't bothered about finding meaning reminds me of a saying in the book of Ecclesiastes 1 v 18: 'For in the abundance of wisdom there is an abundance of vexation, so that he that increases knowledge increases pain.' I love this book in the bible as it really does emphasize the 'what is the point?' question. Tabucchi’s fiction does not belong to the self-help book category, but it’s one hell of a help. Ultimately, what I’m getting from Tabucchi’s fiction is the fact that it gives me something I enjoy doing every day; for a moment I stop being a problem solver, and someone who’s overwhelmed by problems all day long in his day job. I have found that it is the only way to bring about an appreciation and a focus on what you have and what you do in life, rather than what you lack. That said, it's not always that easy; as a person who thinks about life and the world a lot, I will always have to work hard on the things above to avoid falling into despair.
If you're into Mundane Literature and the Meaning of Life, read on.