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The Land at the End of the World

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,326 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
In the tradition of William Faulkner and Gabriel García Márquez, one of the twentieth century’s most original literary voices offers "kaleidoscopic visions of a modern Portugal scarred by its Fascist past and its bloody colonial wars in Africa" (Paris Review). Hailed as a masterpiece of world literature, The Land at the End of the World—in an acclaimed translation by Marga ...more
Paperback, 222 pages
Published June 25th 2012 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 1979)
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Vit Babenco
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Sitting in the cabin of a truck beside the driver, cap pulled low over my eyes, an endless cigarette vibrating in my hand, I began my painful apprenticeship in dying.”
The Land at the End of the World seems to be made completely out of metaphors…
“Confined in dilapidated wards, wearing the uniform of the ill, we walked our incommunicable dreams, our formless angst, around the sandy parade ground of the barracks, viewing our past through the inverted binoculars of letters from home and photos kept
Dec 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I do believe that everyone should eventually read this book. Eventually, because they should be ready for it. It's not to be trifled with. That would be a waste. Thanks to Neal for bringing this to my attention.

My reviews do not tell the story. That can be found elsewhere ... the official blurb, other reviews. This is the story of a medical doctor who was drafted into Portugal's military to tend the wounded in the war against colonial Angola in the 1970s. We follow him into the military camps an
Jan 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-must, w-a-r
Прочетох тази книга първо на италиански, когато бях някъде на 24-5, и получих аритмия, буквална и преносна, излязох си от всички коловози и видях как се променям. Вече на 31-2 я прочетох на български и ефектът беше същият.

Аз я предложих - настойчиво - за поредицата на Колибри, в която излезе, и с това съм много по-горда, отколкото с куп други неща, които съм вършила през живота си, дори да не са се получавали никак зле. Преводачката Даринка Кирчева направи чудеса, за да преведе абсолютно лудешки
Feb 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translation, fiction
with nearly two dozen books to his name, antónio lobo antunes is unquestionably portugal's greatest and most accomplished living novelist. there are many (myself not included) that believe the swedish academy awarded the 1998 nobel prize to the wrong portuguese writer, though rumors persist that lobo antunes is an annual contender for the much coveted literary prize. his dense and powerful works are often compared to those of joyce, faulkner, and céline, though he denies influence from either of ...more
T for Tongue-tied
Dear senhor Antunes,

Your comforts are few, your humour dark but your words make my heart strip naked and dance in the fading sunlight. You talk beyond exhaustion, stumbling through the depths of memory and drunkenness, through the abattoir of colonialist mayhem, of wasted villages and terrified soldiers who stare out into the dark and yet, you are still able to breathe beauty into words, so sharply contrasting with the emotions your story is intended to elicit... The endless visions of abstract
The Portuguese Vietnam

While the USA was engaged during the 1960's and 70's in its insane war in Vietnam, Portugal was digging proportionately even deeper graves in its African colony of Angola (one and one half million men went to Africa, from a population of ten million; almost 80,000 died on all sides). Somewhat lower-tech than the American effort, the Portuguese troops went out not by jet plane but by ship, hardly a morale-building experience - they travelled in the same cargo holds that carr
Luís C.
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alcoholic soliloquist leaning against the zinc of a Lisbon bar to charm a woman with shapes blossoming through a glass of whiskey that empties. But is one really trying to seduce? No we do not delude more about feelings: we want his square of skin that we will be able to flourish to the rhythm of his own impulses. For our man has it in the bag, enough to make you drain the sewers of the Praça do Commércio of the filth of all kinds that strew his thoughts. Thoughts croupies in this dirty war in A ...more
Feb 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Katie by: RK-ique
Shelves: fiction
In her translator's introduction, Margaret Jull Costa notes that this works original Portuguese title was Os cus de Judas, which, roughly translated, pretty much means Judas's Assholes. Costa didn't go with this translation - I can't imagine her publishers would have been thrilled with it - and I think that it's sort of a shame. The Land at the End of the World suggests something fantastical or whimsical. Lobo Antunes's book isn't either of these things. It's nasty and cruel, dirty and sexualize ...more
A tightly-packed bomb built of beautiful metaphors. Brutal at times, very sad at others. Highly recommended.
What I dislike most about this book is that I dislike it. I closed the cover with an alarmingly low empathy level, and for reasons that may appear petty and pedantic.

The vague, non-spoiler sketch: a semi-autobiographical young Portuguese doctor goes off to war in Angola and comes home to find that he cannot shrug off the horrors and simply continue prosaic modern life.

This is material that should move me. But it doesn't. And here's why: I couldn't stomach the non-stop, gratuitous, and sometimes
Mar 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, war
Antonio Lobo Antunes’ The Land at the End of the World may well be the best war novel written by a leftist psychiatrist of the Freudian school. I suppose that sounds a bit snarky, or narrow, but it’s not meant to be a criticism but a snapshot of what to expect. The unnamed narrator (like Antunes) was a medic during Portugal’s war in Angola. He is haunted by his experience, and his memories, nine years later, are constantly circling back to the war and its horrors.

The novel opens at (appropriate
Neal Adolph
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The struggle is real.

Is this a four-star or a five-star book? It borders so close to that upper-most standard of excellence, teases at it, steps across the line and then takes a step back. Ultimately, the struggle between stars doesn't matter I guess, though I labour over it a decent amount while reading a book. It is how you explain those stars that matter - and it is those words that I struggle to place into nearly sensible sentences over and over and over again as I finish a book. The struggl
Ubik 2.0
Nov 07, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Leggo per diletto

…non per dovere, per motivi di studio o impegno di lavoro.

Non capisco quindi perché dovrei continuare a cozzare contro le pagine di questo libro, che pure sono state tanto apprezzate da diversi miei amici, ma che a me producono solo fatica e incomprensione.
Dopo l’ennesimo tentativo mi arrendo e dovrei in teoria catalogare il libro fra gli “abbandonati”, ma credo che gli abbandonati siano libri che potrebbero anche essere ripresi in futuro, mentre su questo non voglio più ciment
Jun 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Влюбих се в този автор и в тази книга, и за да не се изкуша да я нарека словесен шедьовър или някоя друга изтъркана хвалба, каквато тя не заслужава, ще споделя само няколко цитата, макар че тя цялата е цитат за споделяне, и една песен на Пол Саймън, която открих между страниците и не мога да й се наслушам.

"Кой знае дали няма за завършек на вечерта да се любим двамата, яростни като зъбоболни носорози, докато утрото бледо освети чаршафите, разхвърляни от от
Sonia Gomes
Apr 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who would like to see the brutality of War
Recommended to Sonia by: Literature for M.A Course
Antonio Lobo Antunes, just does not want to go to Angola to fight a war which has no meaning for him or for anyone else. What adds to his misery is that he has to to leave his pregnant wife in Portugal to fight in a country he never even wished to see
This is a brutal book. You see the colonial war in Angola through the eyes of the doctor Antonio Lobo Antunes.
Every sordid detail is placed before you, the terrible, terrible loneliness, the lack of camaraderie between the soldiers, who just want t
After a slow start, the languorously-long sentences, many of them heavy with metaphors, grew on me. But don't look for much of a plot here. Instead, Antunes is all about mood and tone and stream-of-consciousness.

Ostensibly about a Portuguese doctor serving his country's colonial ambitions in a war against rebels in Angola, this is as much about the good doctor's head, his dreams and nightmares, his on-going conversation with the woman he loves, complete with the physical descriptions that make h
мини тяло
Антонио Лобу Антунеш е психиатър. Вероятно това му помага да прониква толкова навътре в човешкото съзнание – почти си представям тънките му пръсти (разбира се, че са тънки), които потропват ритмично по главата на пациентите, за да отключат тайните им. Или може би потропва само по своята глава (макар че съмнява ме толкова светове да съществуват само в едно съзнание). Навярно професията му е източник на вдъхновение - ако ще и само под формата на размисли за живота и човешките емоции, страхове, пре ...more
I've had this weird obsession with Angola for a while now. The idea of a decrepit oil kleptocracy that was the last outpost of the Portuguese Empire, which went from being a particularly ugly colonial government to a flashpoint in the Cold War to a failed state. I've read Kapuscinski on the subject, and Paul Theroux, and it was time to give Antunes a try, seeing as how vaunted the man is in the world of Lusophone writing.

One nightmare after another is how it goes, each more hallucinatory than th
May 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Confesso: Só li este livro agora, foi uma descoberta relativamente tardia. Mas ainda bem que assim foi, porque estou convencida de que hoje lhe dei muito mais valor do que teria dado quando tinha vinte e poucos anos. Que linguagem expressiva, que capacidade extraordinária para fazer descrições, para captar a alma das pessoas, que ironia viperina, que sofrimento… Um dos melhores romances sobre a guerra colonial. Se não o conhecem, leiam-no. Lobo Antunes no seu melhor!

An extraordinary book about w
Chad Post
Jan 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome. Writing a full--and much more articulate--review later, but I want to say that after three meh Antonio Lobo Antunes translations ("Fat Man & Infinity," "Knowledge of Hell," "What Can I Do When Everything's On Fire?") this comes like a breath of fresh Celine-inspired air. Yeah. It's cynical and dark and moving and honest and about the Portuguese Colonial Wars and a man sitting in a bar telling his sad tale to a silent woman he ends up seducing. Seriously, full review later. One that ...more
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inspired by my Goodread friend David's great reviews for two other books by Antunes, it's time to spend some words for this one, because I feel it is one of these readings that deserve a special mention.

Being the first one I have tried by Lobo Antunes, "The Land at the End of the World" was this year's apocalypse so far. While reading it, I found myself in front of a completely unique, interesting and very very challenging prose which I have never met so far in a book and nothing similar to comp
Erwin Maack
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

" (...) a felicidade, esse estado difuso resultante da impossível convergência de paralelas de uma digestão sem azia com o egoísmo satisfeito e sem remorsos, continua a parecer-me, a mim, que pertenço à dolorosa classe dos inquietos tristes, eternamente à espera de uma explosão ou de um milagre, qualquer coisa de tão abstrato e estranho como a inocência, a justiça, a honra, conceitos grandiloqüentes, profundos e afinal vazios que a família, a escola, a catequese e o estado me haviam impingido p
Daniel Gonçalves
Bem, é difícil avaliar este livro por várias razões, uma delas o sentimento misto que tive ao acabar de lê-lo.

Não é propriamente uma leitura dita fácil, é algo que puxa imensamente de metáforas( muitas delas desnecessárias, na minha opinião) mas que é extremamente bem concretizada no que toca a vocábulos e truques de linguagem.

A narrativa, é o ponto fraco deste livro, esta é apresentada de forma segmentada e é baseada em relatos de vida do narrador durante a guerra, que muitas vezes divaga desne
Full of rich analogies, a man destroyed by a needless war in Angola speaks to an unknown woman about his experiences and how he, as with many who go to war, lost his life and now lives in darkness.

A book that is a monologue. It tells of one and a half million Portuguese men who went to war and when it was all over a series of civil wars then started. Pointless.

A unique book on the senseless wars we seem to have.
Jan 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
dear god. he's a magician of vivid images, flicking through a stream of postcards for fleeting display in the reader's brain, as he recounts the life's tale of a portuguese man ravaged by his military service in angola. i should mark this 'non-fiction.' his writing (& the translation) is astounding. some lines and details are wicked scathing, and some beautiful, twisted, brilliant.
ultimately, it is of the horrors of war.
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked how feverish the prose is, like the narrator keeps thinking as fast as he can to bit have to look to long at what he can't stop thinking about. I had trouble holding the main thread despite, or perhaps because of, that, but still enjoyed the language immensely anyway. Beautiful stuff, even if strange to follow page to page.
Bryan Murphy
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book shortly after it first came out. I was living in Angola at the time, and it helped me to understand what the Angolans had had to put up with during their war of independence, as well as the price that Portuguese conscripts had to pay for their rulers' hubris.
Giusy Pappalardo
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un libro bellissimo, scritto con una prosa appassionante in cui ogni parola rende il linguaggio metafora.
Romanzo storico e umano, si sviluppa come lungo monologo/flusso di coscienza, durante una notte in un bar a Lisbona, in cui il protagonista si confessa e narra ad una sconosciuta la sua vicenda di sopravvissuto alla guerra in Angola e la sua identità distrutta dalla guerra.
Piacevolmente complesso nella costruzione delle pagine, la cosa che più mi ha colpito di Lobo Antunes è lo stile, l'uso d
Paul Fulcher
Nov 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
A lyrical indictment of European colonialism and the futile wars fought against local independence movements.

The book is based on the author's personal experiences of the conflict in Angola between the Salazar regime and the various independence movements, such as the MPLA and UNITA, which were simulateneously in conflict with each other - but the insights are applicable more widely.

Lobo Antunes also focuses on the personal cost to those involved. His narrator, sent, like the author, to Angola
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Госпожите от Националното женско движение понякога идваха да разсеят загърнатата във визони менопауза, раздавайки медальони на Богородицата от Фатима и ключодържатели с образа на Салазар, придружени от нацоиналистически ‘отче-наш’ и заплахи с библейския ад в Пениш, където агентите на ПИДЕ превъзхождаха по ефективност безобидните дяволи с вили в ръка от катехезиса. Винаги съм си представял, че космите по слабините им са от лисича кожа, а при възбуда от вагината им потичат капки ‘Ма Гиф” и пуделск ...more
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At the age of seven, António Lobo Antunes decided to be a writer but when he was 16, his father sent him to medical school - he is a psychiatrist. During this time he never stopped writing.
By the end of his education he had to join the Army, to take part in the war in Angola, from 1970 to 1973. It was there, in a military hospital, that he gained interest for the subjects of death and the other. T
More about António Lobo Antunes...
“I'm just giving you some spiel, the ludicrous plot of a novel, a story I invented to touch your heart—one-third bullshit, one-third booze, and one-third genuine tenderness, you know the kind of thing.” 11 likes
“По това време в моя град, кастриран от полицията и цензурата, хората ставаха на съсиреци от студ по автобусните спирки и изпускаха от устата си облачета пара с надписи от комикс, забранен от правителството.” 2 likes
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