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The Book of Disquiet

4.51  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,490 Ratings  ·  886 Reviews
"There is a distinguished mind at work beneath the totally acceptable dullness of clerking. The mind is that of Pessoa. We must be given the chance to learn more about him."—Anthony Burgess, Observer

Seated at his desk in the Lisbon’s Rua dos Douradores, Bernardo Soares, an assistant book-keeper, writes his diary—a self-deprecating reflection on the sheer distance between t
Paperback, 262 pages
Published November 1st 2002 by Serpent's Tail (first published 1982)
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Ajk77 Probably that a different editor selected a different quantity of the scraps lying on the floor. This wasn't a book put together by the author.
M.J. If you don't speak Portuguese I would recommend the translation by Richard Zenith, as he is of Portuguese descent, editor of one of the Portuguese…moreIf you don't speak Portuguese I would recommend the translation by Richard Zenith, as he is of Portuguese descent, editor of one of the Portuguese versions and considered by many one of the greatest Pessoa's expert.(less)
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Dec 19, 2009 Szplug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Humans are social beings, to the extent that those who prefer solitude to the company of others are usually perceived as troubled individuals, outside of the norm; it took me a long time to feel comfortable with being alone, with dampening the guilt that flared up in me every time I begged off going out with a group of friends. It is always a welcome reinforcement when I come across a book penned by a fellow recluse—and The Book of Disquiet could be a solitary soul's bible, so powerfully does it ...more
Mar 19, 2013 Dolors rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have this habit of keeping a pencil close by when I'm reading a book which I know is going to have some passages I want to remember. So, whenever I come across a sentence or a paragraph that strikes me for some reason, I underline it.
Well now, what's mostly happened with my copy of the "The book of disquiet" by Fernando Pessoa is that there is something underlined in almost every page of the book. Which is the same to say that this is a memorable book on the whole. I'd even dare to say that th
"I follow the course of my dreams, making them images into steps toward other images; folding casual metaphors like fans into grand pictures of interior vision; I untie life from myself, and I toss it aside as if it were a too-tight suit."- Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

You know a writer is great when he makes you want to learn a new language to understand his work in the original. "The Book of Disquiet" is easily the best book I've read this year, and possibly the one I've copied the mo
Bill  Kerwin
Mar 06, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Here is the only Portuguese literary joke I know: Q. Who are the four greatest Portuguese poets of the 20th century? A. Fernando Pessoa. Trust me, it's funny. But it does take a little explaining.

Fernando Pessoa, in order to express various philosophical and poetic moods, constructed a series of what he termed “heteronyms.” The heteronym, although similar to the mask or persona, differs in that each one is equipped with a name, a personality, a biography, and a physical description, as well as a
Emilian Kasemi
My favourite book ever!
There's no need in fact to write a review for this book.Because every fragment of it represents separately a preface; the preface of a book that never begins,and never ends...

I don’t know how many souls I have.
I’ve changed at every moment.
I always feel like a stranger.
I’ve never seen or found myself.
From being so much, I have only soul.
A man who has soul has no calm.
A man who sees is just what he sees.
A man who feels is not who he is.

Attentive to what I am and see,
I becom
Huda Yahya

بيسوا هو ذلك الذي جاء ليعبر عني أخيرا

برغم مرور سنوات عديدة على قراءة الكتاب
إلا أنني وحتى الآن لا أستطيع استجماع شتات نفسي لأكتب عنه

صعب أن تكتب عن شيء يحفر فيك عميقا بهذه الطريقة
صعب أن تتخطى مرحلة الانبهار وتحاول أن تشكل بالحروف انطباعا أو تعليقا أو وصفا للحالة التي تتركني عليها كلماته

منذ فترة بدأت في قراءة النسخة الإنجليزية
وللحق الترجمة هذه أفضل بسنوات ضوئية من الترجمة العربية

صرت أرتشف الكتاب سطرا بسطر
أقرأ صفحة أو اثنين اسبوعيا
لا أريده أن ينتهي

وحتى إن أردت مراجعة هذه النسخة
فماذا يا ترى أكتب
Rakhi Dalal
Jan 20, 2014 Rakhi Dalal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in absurdism
Recommended to Rakhi by: Tej

“My soul is a hidden orchestra; I know not what instruments, what fiddlestrings and harps, drums and tamboura I sound and clash inside myself. All I hear is the symphony.”

An Orchestra of over 70 musicians, playing their own instruments, each producing an individual sound, a discrete voice, adding up from each corner, playing the distinctive notes of solitude, dream, rain and tedium, rising at one place while falling at another and producing a symphony so striking in its completion that it cannot
Jan 13, 2013 knig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Heternonymy 101

This be possibly the biggest, most self indulgent pre-PoMo existential angst wank fest. Ever. 500 pages of self centered, whiny, petulant, attention seeking, self important and self obsessed essays, which, were they written by a woman, would no doubt have been classed as the insipid diary blather of sexually frustrated spinster in need of a good seeing to.

The main thoroughfare here is a subdued Munchian scream about the ‘tedium’ of life, examined from every angle: a diary of emot
A trifecta of absolute favorites? Well, not favorites. Existence definers, then. I'll have to say though, this self-discovery wasn't nearly as enjoyable as it was with Of Human Bondage or The Magic Mountain. I'd turn a page, and there was one of my innermost thoughts, laid out on the page in all its proud solitude.

Solitude. It takes one intimate with this word and all its facets of life to appreciate this book. The author created an entire world of characters in himself, seeing no journey more i
Flow lightly, life that does not even feel itself, a silent, supple stream beneath forgotten trees! Flow softly, soul that does not know itself, a murmur hidden from view by great fallen branches! Flow vainly, aimlessly, consciousness conscious of nothing, a vague, distant glimmer through leafy clearings, with no known source or destination. Flow on, flow on and leave me to forget!

Flow smoothly, book that does not realize its influence, supple prose poem with ignitions of profundity. Read sl
Dec 13, 2015 Florencia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dreamers, unquiet souls longing for detachment, people unsuccessfully trying to avoid thinking
If I write what I feel, it’s to reduce the fever of feeling. What I confess is unimportant, because everything is unimportant. I make landscapes out of what I feel. I make holidays of my sensations. (42)

He who does not know how to populate his solitude, does not know either how to be alone in a busy crowd.
- Charles Baudelaire, Crowds

Some dreams want to transcend our minds. They want to feel alive, be outside and become reality. We all have dreamed about things that, even after we woke up, we a
mai ahmd
Feb 20, 2012 mai ahmd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: فلسفة
...بداية يجب أن أذكر أني تعرفت على بيسوا مصادفة لم أكن أعرف هذا الشاعر ولم أسمع عنه قبل أن أمد يدي في معرض الكتاب على ديوانه رباعيات والذي كتب فيه أرق وأعذب قصائد الحب وهي القصائد الوحيدة التي كتبها في الحب لقد شدتني عذوبة هذا الشاعر وروحه الشفيفة وتصويراته الرقيقة كأن يقول
المريول الذي أخذته من الدرج
أليس له جيب
لأضع نفسي فيه
لأكون قربك دائما !


أدرتِ وجهك ِ حين
هممت أن أقول لكِ في النهاية
بأنك ِ لو أدرت ِ وجهك
لن يضايقني ذلك !

أجيء وحدي إلى الشاطىء
أجي إلى الشاطىء , أفكر
بالحركة التي
Oct 30, 2010 Oriana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dabbling
I can only speak of this book in hushed, reverential tones. This is one of my most, most, most favorite books, which I've been reading for years and still have not finished. It's like an endless diary of daily life, written by the strangest, most deleriously unhappy (but sometimes happy), brilliant (but sometimes simple), intensely thoughtful old man.

Pessoa is best known for writing poetry using "heteronyms," meaning that essentially he had multiple personalities who all were writers. He never
Camille Stein
Mar 08, 2016 Camille Stein rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

¿Qué sé? ¿Qué busco? ¿Qué siento? ¿Qué pediría si tuviese que pedir?

La vulgaridad es un hogar. Lo cotidiano es maternal. Después de una incursión prolija en la gran poesía, hacia los montes de aspiración sublime, hacia los peñascos de lo transcendente y de lo oculto, sabe mejor que bien, sabe a cuanto es cálido en la vida, regresar al albergue donde ríen los necios felices, beber con ellos, necio también, como Dios nos ha hecho, contento del universo que nos ha sido dado y dejando lo demás a lo
Sep 19, 2013 Tej rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I begin because I don’t have the strength to think; I finish because I don’t have the courage to quit. This book is my cowardice. .
It sometimes occurs to me, with sad delight, that if one day (in a future to which I won’t belong) the sentences I write are read and admired, then at last I’ll have my own kin, people who ‘understand’ me, my true family in which to be born and loved. But far from being born into it, I’ll have already died long ago. I’ll be understood only in effigy, when
Huda Yahya
In utter solitude ..
I reread this sacred piece of art <3


Sadly I write in my quiet room, alone as I have always been, alone as I will always be. And I wonder if my apparently negligible voice might not embody the essence of thousands of voices, the longing for self expression of thousands of lives, the patience of millions of souls resigned like my own to their daily lot, their useless dreams, and their hopeless hopes.

In these languid and empty hours,
Ben Winch
Sure, you've heard it before: 'experimental, unique, like no other novel', and occasionally (as with Beckett's The Unnamable or Walser's The Robber or - so I hear - Joyce's Ulysses) it's true. But if by mentioning him in the same breath as those other 'high modernists' I've made Pessoa seem difficult, forget it. Difficult, yes - perhaps impossible - to read from cover to cover, The Book of Disquiet is, page for page, like all Pessoa, so supremely 'easy' that at times it almost seems nothing has ...more

لم أطلب سوي القليل من الحياة ، وحتي ذلك القليل رفضت الحياة منحي إياه .. طلبت حزمة من ضوء الشمس ، القليل من السكينة مع قليل من الخبز ، ألا تثقل عليّ كثيراً معرفتي بأنني موجود ، وألا أطلب من الآخرين شيئاً وألا يطالبونني هم بأي شئ ..

فجأة أجدني وحيداً في العالم .. أري كل هذا من خلال أعالي سطح روحي ، وحيد أنا في العالم .. أن تري الأشياء يعني أنك بعيد وأن ثمة مسافة .. أن تري الأشياء بوضوح معناه أن تتوقف وألا تكف عن الرؤية .. أن تحلل كل شئ يعني أنك غريب !

كل الناس يمرون بجانبي بدون أن يحتكوا بي .. لا
Ian GalaDali
Like a Version (Touched for the Very First Time)

This is an exceptional book or work or whatever you want to call it.

However, ultimately, I found it both fascinating and (just a little bit) frustrating.

One source of frustration is that, upon completing it, I discovered that the version I had read (translated by Margaret Jull Costa) was 262 pages, whereas the Penguin Classics version (translated by Richard Zenith) is 544 pages. I hate it when this happens. I feel duped. Nothing had forewarned me o
David Lentz
Dec 29, 2012 David Lentz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"B of D" is a work of pure genius written in gloriously lyrical, existential prose: it wants to be poetry and, at times, it is.

Pessoa is a profoundly introspective and honest writer who defined existential themes based upon his frank study of his own life and dreams: it's possible that Pessoa is the most honest writer who ever lived. He is highly self-critical, self-effacing and suffers from the "disquiet" of his simple life as a bookkeeper in Lisbon. He wrote "B of D" in that richly germinal l
K.D. Absolutely
Apr 21, 2013 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2008-2012)
In your mind, picture an old man who dines in a nearby cafe everyday. He works in an office as a bookkeeper, probably few years before his retirement. He is living alone in his apartment a block away from that cafe. You oftentimes eat in that restaurant and whenever you do, you see him on that chair facing the window, silently eating the same meal, talking to no one except nodding to the waitress and once in a while glancing at the view outside.

You hesitate to talk to him. Probably he seems to
Dec 31, 2015 Junta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who prefer thought over action, solitude to company, meaning over happiness
Recommended to Junta by: Aubrey, Dahlia, Florencia and Stian's 5-star reviews
The Review of Disquiet
Ken. O. O. Bach
Edited and Translated by Junta

I was born in a time when possibilities were expanding by the day. However, so did the proportion of young people who lost touch with their dignity. It seems the trend will only continue. Visible and invisible disparities.

I love the idea of myself. I am proud, but not vain. I know my defects are too strong for me to love myself as much as the idea of myself.

The idea of living is tedious. One is much more comfortable living i
Dec 08, 2008 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Editor’s Long-Ass Note Attempting to Justify This Review as Relevant or Important Work: As a people, we almost lost an invaluable review of Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet with the unheralded demise of reviewer ‘Chris’. His decision to end his life by firing himself from a canon through a fifty-foot long maze of razor wire ending at a brick wall would have probably gone unnoticed, if he hadn’t also made sure the brick wall was also conveniently placed at the edge of a pond full of alligat ...more
MJ Nicholls
The Book of Disquiet is a LiveJournal blog as written by E.M. Cioran or Albert Camus.

Bernardo Soares, Pessoa’s leading alter-ego, imagines “the corpse of [his] prose” being “lowered into general oblivion” upon his death. This might have been the case had not archivists rescued his fragmented idlings from the black void and published them in this volume.

It strikes me, given Soares’s desire for extinction, and the delusion of posterity, that this selection of writing is redundant. What impact can
Stephen P
Apr 07, 2015 Stephen P rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone seeking the axe cracking the ice...
A man who sees and cannot not see. Having had a normal childhood and adolescence the banality of life appeared, even in his dreams. He sees no way out,
"Living seems to me a metaphysical mistake on the part of matter, an oversight on the part of inaction."

However, he needs daily life-it is like a "mother" to nurture him after he has flown so high in the transcendent light of soaring poetry. Clearly he recognized that being here, in the no moment of existence, his future is his past already flo
I found this last night, which I scribbled down about 8 years ago when I first read this. I will let it stand as is:


I am reading a new translation of 'The Book of Disquiet' by Fernando Pessoa. These fragments shoved in a trunk speak in a voice so close to my own, secret, internal wanderings that I feel like a shadow slowly recognising the body it follows. This is not to suggest I am anything near his genius but simply that he writes what I remember feeling, or I remember feel
Oh, God, this is amazing.

I've covered the whole thing with frenzied annotations. I need to lie down and think for a moment. This is a beautiful and melancholy look into the loneliness of the dark of the human spirit. Overwhelmed. Pessoa is a genius at describing solitude and dreaming.

Will come back to write something more fitting later.

Jul 21, 2013 Deepthi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“I don't know what I feel or what I want to feel. I don't know what to think or what I am.”
― Fernando Pessoa

To understand this book, one might have to understand Pessoa. But how can one understand Pessoa when he himself never managed to do the same? He was a writer who used more than 70 heteronyms and each one had a biography of his own. He was each one of them, a mix of few of them, and none at all. He loved and loathed himself equally. He was a dreamer and through dreaming he existed. Quite co
David Katzman
Aug 19, 2013 David Katzman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: a book club of intellectuals, fans of Modernist experimentation
Recommended to David by: Oriana
The Book of Disquiet should be read slowly and thoughtfully, savored and sipped like fine wine. It’s a groundbreaking work of Modernist experimentation that consists of a collection of writings found on disorganized scraps of paper in a chest found in the author’s home after his death. These scraps were assembled into a book for the first time in the 1960s. Pessoa, who was Portuguese, wrote the segments over the course of the last twenty years of his life, which ended in 1935.

Pessoa invented mul
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Lit 101.

Most writers create characters. Fernando Antonio Nogueira Pessoa (13 June 1888 - 30 November 1935) created authors. He had around 75 heteronyms, the earliest of which came to existence when he was just a young boy. A heteronym is more than just a pseudonym. When an author writes as himself but uses another name, that's a pseudonym; when he writes not as himself but as a different person (which he created) and using another name, that's a heteronym. Pessoa's heteronyms have their own biog
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Fernando António Nogueira Pessoa was a poet and writer.

It is sometimes said that the four greatest Portuguese poets of modern times are Fernando Pessoa. The statement is possible since Pessoa, whose name means ‘person’ in Portuguese, had three alter egos who wrote in styles completely different from his own. In fact Pessoa wrote under dozens of names, but Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis and Álvaro de
More about Fernando Pessoa...

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“Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.” 2290 likes
“My past is everything I failed to be.” 784 likes
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