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Search tags: Fernando-Pessoa
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review 2018-06-25 20:57
The Book of Disquiet
The Book of Disquiet - Richard Zenith,Fernando Pessoa

DNF.

 

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.

 
I get that the cynicism is an expression of the guy's struggle to find something to value in his life, but that doesn't make him a metaphor of the modern literary hero or indeed anything I can value. 
 
Apparently, a lot of people have found some deep insights in his ramblings. Good on them. To me, the narrator's (or Pessoa's??) ignorant, arrogant, disdainful stream-of-consciousness blether held more cliches than a piece of hackneyed journalism, signifying nothing. 
 
And if the intro to the book is correct and the MC is an alter ego of Pessoa himslef (who hadn't actually published this in his lifetime), then that is rather sad.
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text 2018-06-25 16:22
Reading progress update: I've read 10%.
The Book of Disquiet - Richard Zenith,Fernando Pessoa

I have a feeling that this month will be all about books that just don't work for me. 

 

A veritable celebration of DNFs, if you like. 

 

:(

 

 

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review 2018-06-22 19:02
Fin-de-siècle Urban Nightmares: “Lucio's Confession” by Mário de Sá-Carneiro, Margaret Jull Costa (translator)
Lucio's Confession - Mário de Sá-Carneiro


"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.

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review 2017-10-31 16:20
I'm bovvered that I'm not bovvered: “Letter from Casablanca” by Antonio Tabucchi
Letter from Casablanca - Antonio Tabucchi,Janice M. Thresher

‘“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.

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review 2017-10-28 22:07
The Man-With-No-Middle-Name: "No Middle Name - The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories" by Lee Child
No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories - Lee Child
Everyone is equal, but is he or her the most human? Does Jack Reacher, the man-with-no-middle-name, embody many men?
 
I'm surprised people that are interested in books don't take the opportunity to step back and recognise the multi-cultic hogwash that has made contemporary literary criticism so predictable and boring. So much criticism I see and read, myself included, is completely bollocks, but as essays (or assays), they’re still a wonder to read.
 
There are so many blatant untruths about human nature that people are expected to recite whenever they say anything that it just takes the edge out of everything, even when it comes to Lee Child and his Jack Reacher.
 
It's not unknown for writers of fiction to develop many characters over time, in order for them to have more structure, content, more substance, capable of exuding humanity from the innately indifferent pages of a novel. So, Pessoa was obsessed with character, a creative artist who took aspects of his art much further than anyone else? Look at a wide range of those who have or are considered to be the greats, Picasso, Dali, the great musicians and composers, most of them could have been considered obsessive in one way or another ... even Dulce Pontes could be called of as healthily obsessive with perfection, i.e. to the right degree .... I think this used to be called "hard work and perseverance" as well as "talent" and "creativity". I suspect both Pessoa and Lee Child may prove more reliable than cyberspace at delineating humanity's ever-changing face.
 
 
If you're into a cross between Lee Child and Fernando Pessoa (the greatest Portuguese writer of all time), read on.
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