jeremy's Reviews > The Fat Man and Infinity: And Other Writings

The Fat Man and Infinity by António Lobo Antunes
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's review
Mar 14, 09

bookshelves: translation, shortstories, fiction, essays
Read in March, 2009

antunes crafts some of the world's most vivid and lively prose. the brief selections in the fat man and infinity demonstrate that he is as masterful at creating brief vignettes as he is epic novels. as two-thirds of this book is comprised of autobiographical writings, it allows the reader considerable insight into the author's life and his background (from boyhood, through his service in the angolan civil war, and into his years of shifting his profession from psychiatry to full-time writing). the final third of the book is made up of very short stories, none longer than a mere four pages. in each section of the book, whether fact, fiction, or on the tenuous line between the two, antunes' writing is full of grace, humility, and tenderness, even when writing about betrayal and heartbreak. there's a depth and richness to his work that makes each piece seem so personal, as if he is relating a story that happened to someone we know as intimately as he does. his observations and insights into human frailty, the imagination, romantic yearnings, and the minutiae of everyday life are incomparable keen, yet there's a quiet, contented ease (however full of passion) that permeates each story like the subtlest of breezes barely perceptible. it is of little wonder that antunes is widely mentioned as a perennial candidate for the nobel prize, as nearly everything he has written seems to be utterly exquisite and arresting.

as always, margaret jull costa's translation is fluid and seamless.
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Portia Renee Robillard The bits of Antunes that that I have recently been exposed to leave me longing for more. Your insights are adept. It is wonderful to find such literary gems!


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