I bought this book on an impulse because I'm trying to read more books in Portuguese and written by Portuguese writers. I'm also trying to encourage m...moreI bought this book on an impulse because I'm trying to read more books in Portuguese and written by Portuguese writers. I'm also trying to encourage more books to be published as paperbacks - and the best way I've found to do this is by actually buy them! So this was one of the cases.
I had never heard about this book nor the author, so it was a very nice surprise to discover both! With these pages Álvaro Guerra became an author I definitely intend to read more from! It's such a good feeling to discover a good book and a new writer by chance!! :)
In this book we get to hear about the world and Portuguese events between 1914 to 1945 as seen by the eyes of the Vila Velha's inhabitants and also about their lives and (some) secrets. It's a fiction book that feels like non-fiction. I've found this very well written and a pleasure to read! (less)
This is the story of two women who have distinguished themselves in 17th century Angola. One is a former slave, daughter of an African slave and an un...moreThis is the story of two women who have distinguished themselves in 17th century Angola. One is a former slave, daughter of an African slave and an unknown white European man, who due to a decision from the Inquisition court is deported to Loanda (in Angola); the other is the daughter of a powerful man of Loanda's society and his African wife.
I gave this two stars: one since there is a book, another for the interesting theme. Because the execution is from my point of view quite poor. The dialogues are very naive, some seem to be taken from children books, like the ones I read to my niece. The historical background is presented in a very detached way from the story itself (sometimes it felt like I was reading a non-fiction book) but then surprised me by including opinions defending the 'brave Portuguese'. The way the novel is constructed also makes it boring: first part focuses entirely in one of the main characters, the second focuses on the other, but then describing *exactly* the same situations with slightly different words, and when the characters discuss the events, these are described a 3rd time...
Funnily enough, one of the characters, that is meant to be a follower of the devil, hopes that God may help her.. - Sebastiao, vou partir imediatamente e queira Deus que ainda chegue a tempo de poder fazer alguma coisa!
And a funny (for me!) sentence: Anna ficava espantada com as palavras da amiga e com a sua sabedoria. E as coisas que ela dizia iam fazendo eco na sua cabeça. -> faziam eco porque a cabeça estava vazia??(less)
I've decided to give José Luís Peixoto a second chance with a non-fiction book about a topic I'm quite interested in: life in North Korea. And he pass...moreI've decided to give José Luís Peixoto a second chance with a non-fiction book about a topic I'm quite interested in: life in North Korea. And he passed the test! :) I'll move to a third book from him in the near future.
This one is a description of his trip to North Korea, which was organized in 2012 to celebrate Kim Il-Sung's 100 birthday. We are given a short summary of 20th century Korean history, but Peixoto focuses mostly on accounting his trip of 2 weeks. How he found the Koreans poor and felt that as a foreigner he was quite privileged, how he didn't believe most things he was told by the guides allocated to his group and felt lack of freedom, but was surprised by seeing young children feeling safe enough to go alone to school on public transportation.
Having previously read a bit about North Korea, this book didn't bring me so much new knowledge, but I was curious to see the country through his eyes. The eyes of a Portuguese man who was raised in a free democratic country (but as all others, not perfect!).
I'd have been curious to read about his impressions on South Korea and comparisons to North Korea, had he done a similarly organized trip of 2 weeks there as well. How is Korea still one, and how the years of separation have drifted them apart?
I was undecided between 3 and 4 stars, but decided to round it up as I really like his writing style! :)(less)
Paulette is a (bit clumsy) super hero: a sociology student during the day and a vengeful hero in the evening. Furthermore, she also has a weakness for...morePaulette is a (bit clumsy) super hero: a sociology student during the day and a vengeful hero in the evening. Furthermore, she also has a weakness for cute guys and a strange allergy to alcohol that makes her do unexpected things.
This is a silly story, but since it's a comic book, it was a good try for me to read in French! :)(less)
Read this one quite fast, despite being of a genre that I'm not a big fan of! However, this was largely compensated by the fact that it was written by...moreRead this one quite fast, despite being of a genre that I'm not a big fan of! However, this was largely compensated by the fact that it was written by one of my favourite Portuguese writers!
Having loved the first book of the Century trilogy, this felt a bit bellow the par. The formula was the same: different families spread in the globe,...moreHaving loved the first book of the Century trilogy, this felt a bit bellow the par. The formula was the same: different families spread in the globe, but located in all strategic places where the action between 1933 and 1949 took place and all are involved in some of the major world events of this period (from a American/European point of view). And because the world is such a small place, they constantly meet and interact during these 16 years. Don't get me wrong, this was entertaining enough, but lacking some novelty that the first volume brought me. So other than a different political background and some new characters it does not feel that this story brings so much new. Also a bit repetitive as the events from some chapters before are retold when a character that had been neglected for a while comes back 'to the stage'. And it seems to me that Ken Follett is prone to create bastards in his stories. However, to give it some credit, it did not take me too long to read this 800+ pages hardcover while my memory refreshed some of the world events of mid 20th century.(less)
Portuguese historical fiction written by a Portuguese writer must be praised! This is a good effort reminding us of what could have been the chaos in...morePortuguese historical fiction written by a Portuguese writer must be praised! This is a good effort reminding us of what could have been the chaos in Lisbon during those days around the earthquake in 1755.
On the morning of 1st November, in All Saints day, while most people were in church a strong earthquake was felt in Lisbon. This was followed by a tsunami / giant wave that contributed to downtown's destruction and the death of all those that believed they would be safer on the riverside. To make things worse fire also started in a few points in the city, adding to the natural disaster. And afterwards there were also the earthquake replicas felt on the following days.
I've been fortunate to have only have felt a very mild earthquake and it was an odd feeling. Thinking about this one more than 250 years ago, it must have been truly felt like God's punishment...
However, the language used by the author is a bit simplistic at times, the characters are not fully developed (and after meeting someone for 5 days talking about "my love" or "the love of my life" seems a bit too naive...) and due to the fact that there is more than one narrator, making the story go back and forth, sometimes I felt a bit lost regarding the timeline. I must say that the language used by the English character is IMHO not believable: how could common people in Lisbon, who at the time had no idea about English, understand this man who spoke half Portuguese and half English? Also his Portuguese words are too colloquial for someone who is not able to speak a full sentence in Portuguese and surprisingly most of the time he conjugates verbs correctly in Portuguese. And I was astonished that he could use a word such as "energúmeno"! :P Also the Brazilian character spoke with a similar accent and vocabulary as nowadays, which doesn't ring true...
All in all, a fast read of a light novel on a very important episode of Portuguese history (and I kept thinking that Saramago should have taken this theme for one of his books...).
This edition also had errors in Portuguese spelling (despite the fact that it uses the new *annoying* orthography): Da primeira vez que viemos há procura do teu dinheiro... (page 291) Há medida que íamos partilhando... (page 354) Given that I'm trying to read more in Portuguese so that I can keep the language alive in my brain, this is a quite negative aspect of this book :( Probably I should try to ask for a refund! :P(less)
This is a collection of reflections of Mr Palomar, who observes the world around him. There is nothing ground breaking here, but it is very well writt...moreThis is a collection of reflections of Mr Palomar, who observes the world around him. There is nothing ground breaking here, but it is very well written and with a logical structure that (of course!) my brain loved!(less)
After having read and been enchanted by Belcanto some years ago, I planned to read other books from Ann Patchett, but somehow it took me a long time t...moreAfter having read and been enchanted by Belcanto some years ago, I planned to read other books from Ann Patchett, but somehow it took me a long time to get my hands on one. Maybe Belcanto was a lucky shot, or maybe this one was a poor attempt, but the books are definitely very different for me.
This is about Sabine, who was a magician's assistant for more than 20 years. She was always on the background helping Parsifal, the great magician. However, when he dies, less than a year after they'd gotten married, she becomes his lost family's spotlight.
What I didn't buy in this story is the lost family, with whom Parsifal didn't have any contact for more than 20 years, to save Sabine from depression and become like a second family to her... It felt like a betrayal to Parsifal to be even curious to meet his family.(less)
This was my first book from this Portuguese writer. As usual I had no preconception as to what this would be about and had not read anything from him...moreThis was my first book from this Portuguese writer. As usual I had no preconception as to what this would be about and had not read anything from him before, not even the chronicles he writes for different newspapers and magazines.
My first impression of this book was very positive: his use of Portuguese language is very beautiful, the images he creates are captivating, though the story is difficult to figure out (I can easily imagine that he also writes poetry). However, at some point beautiful language is just not enough to keep reading a book and when the plot starts making some sense, the story becomes very violent. There is a lot of blood, swords cutting bodies, people having reduced faculties due to the violence they were subject to...
I'd never read such a violent book before, so it was a strange feeling for me (splash, splash and blood everywhere :P). At times I had to close my eyes so I could make the images that were in my mind disappear and try to figure out from the text when I could start reading again.
Unfortunately I'm not really sure if I want to read more from this author... This was a read-along with friends.(less)
Disclaimer: Maggie O'Farrell is one of my favourite contemporary writers, so though I recognize this is not her best, to my standards this is still ve...moreDisclaimer: Maggie O'Farrell is one of my favourite contemporary writers, so though I recognize this is not her best, to my standards this is still very good!
Again we have entwined stories, entwined lives from people living in separate periods. What links them? Who are these people? As usual with Maggie O'Farrell, we discover this bit by bit along an engaging novel!
Loved reading (and picturing in my mind) this section: But this is anticipating. The film needs to be rewound a little. Watch. Innes sucks in a nimbus of smoke, lifts a cigarette stub from the ashtray, appears to envelop Lexie in a shirt and push her across the room, the pillows jump on to the bed, Lexie zooms backwards toward the window. This is what happens when you rewind in a book :)(less)
-> This volume has 3 short stories, but I've only read Gigi so far. I'll save the other two for later.
Gigi is Gilberte, a naive outspoken fifteen y...more-> This volume has 3 short stories, but I've only read Gigi so far. I'll save the other two for later.
Gigi is Gilberte, a naive outspoken fifteen year old living with her mother and grandmother. While her mother is always absent as she works as singer at the opera, Gigi is being raised by her grandmother and her Aunt Alicia to become a courtesan. Gaston Lachaille is a rich heir and a family friend who drops by for frequent visits. Gigi and Gaston get along very well but can things work out between them?
A delicious quote: "Marriage is not forbidden to us. Instead of marrying 'at once', it sometimes happens that we marry 'at last'.(less)