Jason Pettus's Reviews > The Book of Disquiet

The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
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Aug 03, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: early-modernism, weird, hipster
Recommended to Jason by: David Katzman
Read in August, 2011

(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

This was recommended to me by a friend of mine, Chicago bizarro author David David Katzman, specifically because of the growing influence it's apparently having these days on all lovers of the surreal; because for those who don't know, Fernando Pessoa was sort of the Portuguese version of Franz Kafka, a white-collar worker in Lisbon during the Early Modernist era of the 1910s through '30s, who barely published anything during his own lifetime but left behind over 25,000 pages of brilliantly obtuse work after his death. In fact, this particular novel wasn't even published for the very first time until 1982, which is why it's only now in the 2000s that it's starting to have a wide global influence for the first time, the pieces left by Pessoa in such a fragmented state that modern editors weren't sure what order the snippets should even appear. As you can imagine, then, this leaves the reading experience as a challenge to say the least, but a deeply rewarding one for the dedicated lover of experimentalism who can stick with it for the entire thing, as Pessoa weaves together observation with introspection, served with a healthy dose of cutting-edge style; and it's for sure destined to eventually become just as much a landmark of Early Modernist experimentation as T.S. Eliot or even Kafka himself. It comes recommended to those looking to expand their knowledge of this period of literary history, as well as fans of modern bizarro and gonzo fiction.
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07/14 marked as: read

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