Lizzy's Reviews > The Book of Disquiet

The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
30575403
's review

it was amazing
bookshelves: classics-literay-fiction, poetry, portugal, stars-5, read-2016, favorites-of-all-times

'We're well aware that every creative work is imperfect and that our most dubious aesthetic contemplation will be the one whose object is what we write. But everything is imperfect. There's no sunset so lovely it couldn't be yet lovelier, no gentle breeze bringing us sleep that couldn't bring yet sounder sleep.'

Almost all my feelings…
As soon as I turned the last page, I realized how much I was going to miss The Book of Disquiet. For it has been my faithful companion for over two weeks, as my friends are witness for their company was always there with me. As soon as I turned the last page, I worried, what am I going to do now? But now it seems my only consolation is all the quotes I collected during this lavish period. So I now populate my new solitude with these gems, with Fernando Pessoa’s amazing dreams.
'I've never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. My worst sorrows have evaporated when I've opened the window on the street of my dreams and forgotten myself in what I saw there.'

I’ve always been a dreamer, but I dream mainly through readings that I always carried along with me in my life’s journey. I cannot now pretend to be a dreamer like Fernando Pessoa, or Bernardo Soare: I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. For I lived more in the real world than Pessoa confessedly did. Every dream is the same dream, for they're all dreams. Let God change my dreams, but for my gift of dreaming. For him they were his nourishment, his own life. But for me they are my leisure. Yes, my dreams might not be his dreams but they are as alive as his, as dear to me as his were to him.
'I read and I am liberated. I acquire objectivity. I cease being myself and so scattered. And what I read, instead of being like a nearly invisible suit that sometimes oppresses me, is the external world’s tremendous and remarkable clarity, the sun that sees everyone, the moon that splotches the still earth with shadows, the wide expanses that end in the sea, the blackly solid trees whose tops greenly wave, the steady peace of ponds of farms, the terraced slopes with their paths overgrown with grape-vines.'

We might be distinct souls, but there is one thing that we are one and that I felt is his anxiety and is also my own:
'My tedium takes on an air of horror, and my boredom is a fear. My sweat isn’t cold, but my awareness of it is. I’m not physically ill, but my soul’s anxiety is so intense that it passes through my pores and chills my body.'

Yes, it seems we could even be related,
'It sometimes occurs to me, with sad delight, that if one day (...) 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.'

The main difference is that I am not a writer, I am only a reader. And so I am his soul mate for I complete him when I leaf through the pages of his book. As are all his readers that give life to his writings. His prose so beautiful it is heartbreaking, despite his own insecurities. But I would I wish to be a writer if the price is to not live? Better to write to dare to live...

Do you suppose that that is the reason of my contentment? Should you ask if I’m happy, I’ll say that I’m not. For me there is not so much solitude, no lack of friendship, no ceaseless tedium. Only unhappiness is elevating, and only the tedium that comes from unhappiness is heraldic like the descendants of ancient heroes. So, I could not ever be a good poet and I am glad I had never desired so high. Although I have to confess that I had some dreams of being a poet. But these were only dreams…

Perhaps I could have never been a poet, for above all I love. I love my friends, I love my children, I loved a man and I love life. And I could never declare like Pessoa, We never love anyone. What we love is the idea we have of someone. It’s our concept – our own selves – that we love. Or even that [l]ife hinders the expression of life. If I actually lived a great love, I would never be able to describe it. Maye I should read other poets… But I have to agree with him when he states, I wake up to make sure I exist... Aren’t we all always unsure if we truly exist?

Am I ordinary?, for most of the time I realize I think with my feelings. While Pessoa confesses: I believe most people think with their feelings, whereas I feel with my thoughts. Yes, I am happily ordinary. While his happiness is as painful as [his] pain.

However, the more I say I don’t agree with our poet, the more I believe him. Am I saying nonsense? Sometimes to be a poet is to unbelieve. Oh, I believe we can travel through our dreams, we can imagine unimaginable places within our dreams:
'What can China give me that my soul hasn't already given me? And if my soul can't give it to me, how will China give it to me? For it's with my soul that I'll see China, if I ever see it. I could go and seek riches in the Orient, but not the riches of the soul, because I am my soul's riches, and I am where I am, with or without the Orient.'

But after all my incoherence, I can only agree with Pessoa:
'It's the central error of the literary imagination: to suppose that others are like us and must feel as we do. Fortunately for humanity, each man is just who he is, it begin given only to the genius to be others as well.'
.
But our natures are diverse, for I am not as solitary as he was. I am solitary, you might say, but I have my books. What does he have? Only his dreams or a poignant and fruitful solitude. To understand, I destroyed myself. To understand is to forget about loving. Can we be that alone? I ask myself, or only genius and poets have that gift? Perhaps, if so that is a sad truth.

Some closing remarks…
I feel I need to add a few considerations, besides my ramblings above.

Pessoa called this work as a factless biography. It might present distinct tones of the absurd, and despite its hints of indifference or even cynicism, it’s nevertheless a quintessential trait of its writer. He reveals an ethereal existence, or his own life, through his willful approach towards his own disquietude; through his sense of a consciousness that suffers with a tedium that results basically from his own senselessness existence. And in that he could not be more truthful.

Faced with the life’s adversity, and aiming to overcome the anguish to him so acute, he imagines, he dreams. This may be one of the reasons for his so many personalities (his heteronyms, who could each write in distinct literary styles) to be born. He is not one, he is many. So he can experience different lives in only one existence. According to him:
'My intellect has attained a pliancy and a reach that enable me to assume any emotion I desire and enter at will into any state of mind.'

For me, his flow of thoughts or dreaming that we read in The Book of Disquiet captures the writer’s mind, reveals a structure and a repetition in thoughts that talks about solitude, dream, tedium, love or un-love and unhappiness. It is ultimately passionate and painful.

Bernardo Soares is Pessoa’s heteronym considered to be the closest to Pessoa’s real self; and his writings strongly express Pessoa’s aspiration to live an imagined life, as if in a dream, so as to forget his self in real life. He continually writes about his dreams, their nature and importance to his survival:
'Live your life. Don’t be lived by it. Right or wrong, happy or sad, be your own self. You can do this only by dreaming, because your real life, your human life, is the one that doesn’t belong to you but to others. You must replace your life with your dreaming, concentrating only on dreaming perfectly. In all the acts of your real life, from that of being born to that of dying, you don’t act – you’re acted; you don’t live – you’re merely lived.'

Rain frequently appear in his writings and it could be viewed as a symbol of his disquietude, his unrelenting dreaming that pours over his own existence. What a wistful and beautiful vision Pessoa gifts us:
“Each drop of rain is my failed life weeping in nature. There’s something of my disquiet in the endless drizzle, then shower, then drizzle, then shower, through which the day’s sorrow uselessly pours itself out over the earth. It rains and keeps raining. My soul is damp from hearing it. So much rain… My flesh is watery around my physical sensation of it.

And he dialogues with the readers, but mainly he questions or even doubts himself and his own writing:
'What will I be ten years from now, or even five? My friends say I'll be one of the greatest contemporary poets - they say this based on what I've written, not what I may yet write. But even if this is true, I have no idea what it will mean. I have no idea how it will taste. Perhaps glory tastes like death and futility, and triumph smells of rottenness.'

The Book of Disquiet moved and overwhelmed me fiercely. Pessoa bit by bit immersed himself into my own self, made me wonder and tremble with his alluring and poignant words, much above a mere understanding. I perceived his disquiet, and I shared with him many uncertainties or yet his certainties. His solitude and his dreaming are written down in my soul and will certainly come back to me in the future. Ah, to be such a poet, what a dream and what sufferings!

___
Other quotes


'I weep over my imperfect pages, but if future generations read them, they will be more touched by my weeping than by any imperfection I might have achieved, since perfection would have kept me from weeping and, therefore, from writing. Perfection never materializes.'

'When all by myself, I can think of all kinds of clever remarks, quick comebacks to what no one said, and flashes of witty sociability with nobody. But all of this vanishes when I face someone in the flesh: I lose my intelligence, I can no longer speak. Only my ghostly and imaginary friends, only the conversations I have in my dreams, are genuinely real and substantial, and in them intelligence like an image in a mirror.'

'I've undertaken every project imaginable. The Iliad composed by me had a structural logic in its organic linking of epodes such as Homer could never have achieved. The meticulous perfection my unwritten verses makes Virgil's precision look sloppy and Milton's power slack. My allegorical satires surpassed all of Swift's in the symbolic exactitude of their rigorously interconnected particular. How many Horaces I've been.'

'When I put away my artifices and lovingly arrange in a corner all my toys, words, images and phrases, so dear to me I feel like kissing them, then I become so small and innocuous, so alone in a room so large and sad, so profoundly sad.'

'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 of 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.'

'I’m dazed by a sarcastic terror of life, a despondency that exceeds the limits of my conscious being. I realize that I was all error and deviation, that I never lived, that I existed only in so far as I filled time with consciousness and thought. I feel, in this moment, like a man who wakes up after a slumber full of real dreams, or like a man freed by an earthquake from the dim light of the prison he’d grown used to.'

'It sometimes occurs to me, with sad delight, that if one day (...) 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 from being born into it, I'll have already died long ago. I'll be understood only in effigy, when affection can no longer compensate for the indifference that was the dead man's lot in life.'

'Not only am I dissatisfied with the poems I write now; I also know that I will be dissatisfied with the poems I write in the future...
So why do I keep writing? Because I still haven't learned... I haven't been able to give up my inclination to poetry and prose. I have to write, as if I were carrying out a punishment. And the greatest punishment is to know that whatever I write will be futile, flawed and uncertain.'

'My state of mind compels me to work hard, against my will, on The Book of Disquiet. But it's all fragments, fragments, fragments...'
____
154 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Book of Disquiet.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

July 12, 2016 – Shelved
July 12, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
July 12, 2016 – Shelved as: classics-literay-fiction
July 12, 2016 – Shelved as: poetry
October 26, 2016 – Started Reading
October 27, 2016 –
6.0% "We're well aware that every creative work is imperfect and that our most dubious aesthetic contemplation will be the one whose object is what we write. But everything is imperfect. There's no sunset so lovely it couldn't be yet lovelier, no gentle breeze bringing us sleep that couldn't bring yet sounder sleep."
October 27, 2016 –
7.0% "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 of 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."
October 28, 2016 –
8.0% "Perhaps my destiny is to remain forever a bookkeeper, with poetry or literature as a butterfly that alights on my head, making me look ridiculous to the extent it looks beautiful."
October 28, 2016 –
9.0% "After the furrows in the grass, like remembrances of what was to come, the treading of the last lost men sounded ever so lightly, their dragging steps opening nothing in the restless greenery. Those who would come were bound to be old, and only the young would never arrive."
October 28, 2016 –
10.0% "From the ledger which I slowly shut I raise my eyes, sore from the tears they didn't shed, and with confused feelings I accept, because I must, that with the closing of the office my dream also closes; that as my hand shuts the ledger it also pulls a veil over my irretrievable past; that I'm going to life's bed wide awake, unaccompanied and without peace, in the ebb and flow of my confused consciousness..."
October 29, 2016 –
11.0% "I’m dazed by a sarcastic terror of life, a despondency that exceeds the limits of my conscious being. I realize that I was all error and deviation, that I never lived, that I existed only in so far as I filled time with consciousness and thought. I feel,in this moment, like a man who wakes up after a slumber full of real dreams, or like a man freed by an earthquake from the dim light of the prison he’d grown used to."
October 30, 2016 –
12.0% "When all by myself,I can think of all kinds of clever remarks, quick comebacks to what no one said, and flashes of witty sociability with nobody.But all of this vanishes when I face someone in the flesh: I lose my intelligence, I can no longer speak.Only my ghostly and imaginary friends, only the conversations I have in my dreams, are genuinely real and substantial, and in them intelligence like an image in a mirror."
October 30, 2016 –
13.0% "I read and I am liberated. I acquire objectivity. I cease being myself and so scattered. And what I read, instead of being like a nearly invisible suit that sometimes oppresses me, is the external world’s tremendous and remarkable clarity, the sun that sees everyone, the moon that splotches the still earth with shadows, the wide expanses that end in the sea, the blackly solid trees whose tops greenly wave..."
October 31, 2016 –
14.0% "Every dream is the same dream, for they're all dreams. Let God change my dreams, but for my gift of dreaming."
October 31, 2016 –
15.0% "I weep over my imperfect pages, but if future generations read them, they will be more touched by my weeping than by any imperfection I might have achieved, since perfection would have kept me from weeping and, therefore, from writing. Perfection never materializes."
November 1, 2016 –
19.0% "When I put away my artifices and lovingly arrange in a corner all my toys, words, images and phrases, so dear to me I feel like kissing them, then I become so small and innocuous, so alone in a room so large and sad, so profoundly sad."
November 1, 2016 –
19.0% "I've never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. My worst sorrows have evaporated when I've opened the window on the street of my dreams and forgotten myself in what I saw there."
November 1, 2016 –
23.0% "What can China give me that my soul hasn't already given me? And if my soul can't give it to me, how will China give it to me? For it's with my soul that I'll see China, if I ever see it. I could go and seek riches in the Orient, but not the riches of the soul, because I am my soul's riches, and I am where I am, with or without the Orient."
November 2, 2016 –
26.0% "Each drop of rain is my failed life weeping in nature. There's something of my disquiet in the endless drizzle, then shower, then drizzle, then shower, through which the day's sorrow uselessly pours itself out over the earth."
November 3, 2016 –
30.0% "It's the central error of the literary imagination: to suppose that others are like us and must feel as we do. Fortunately for humanity, each man is just who he is, it begin given only to the genius to be others as well."
November 4, 2016 –
33.0% "It sometimes occurs to me, with sad delight, that if one day (...) 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 from being born into it, I'll have already died long ago. I'll be understood only in effigy, when affection can no longer compensate for the indifference that was the dead man's lot in life"
November 5, 2016 –
39.0% "Not only am I dissatisfied with the poems I write now; I also know that I will be dissatisfied with the poems I write in the future...\nSo why do I keep writing? Because I still haven't learned... I haven't been able to give up my inclination to poetry prose. I have to write, as if I were carrying out a punishment. And the greatest punishement is to know that whatever I write will be futile, flawed and uncertain."
November 7, 2016 –
47.0% "I've undertaken every project imaginable.The Iliad composed by me had a structural logic in its organic linking of epodes such as Homer could never have achieved. The meticulous perfection my unwritten verses makes Virgil's precision look sloppy and Milton's power slack.My allegorical satires surpassed all of Swift's in the symbolic exactitude of their rigorously interconnected particular. How many Horaces I've been."
November 8, 2016 –
51.0% "I had a certain talent for friendship, but I never had any friends, either because they simply didn't turn up, or because the friendship I had imagined was an error of my dreams. I've always lived alone, and ever more alone as I've become more self-aware."
November 9, 2016 –
55.0% "My ideal would be to live everything through novels and to use real life for resting up - to read my emotions and to live my disdain of them. For someone with a keen and sensitive imagination, the adventures of a fictional protagonist are genuine emotion enough, and more, since they are experienced by us as well as the protagonist."
November 9, 2016 –
58.0% "For a long time - I'm not sure if for days or for months - I haven't recorded my impressions; I don't think, therefore, I don't exist. I've forgotten who I am. I'm unable to write because I'm unable to be. Through an oblique slumber, I've been someone else. To realize I don't remember myself means that I've woken up."
November 10, 2016 –
64.0% "I know no pleasure like that of books,and I read very little.Books are introductions to dreams,and no introductions are necessary for one who freely and naturally enters into conversation with them.I've never been able to lose in a book;as I'm reading, the commentary of my intellect or imagination has always hindered the narrative flow.After a few minutes it's I who am writing,and what I write is nowhere to be found."
November 11, 2016 –
70.0% "I've become so entirely the fiction of myself that any natural feeling may have is immediately transformed, as soon as it's born, into an imaginary feeling. Memories turn into dreams, dream into forgetting what I dreamed, and knowing myself into not thinking of myself.\n...\n\nMy eyes see, but I am blind. I've begun to perceive things with the banality of knowledge. What I see is no longer Reality, it's just Life."
November 12, 2016 –
71.0% "I suffer from not suffering, from not knowing how to suffer. Am I alive or do I just pretend to be? Am I asleep or awake? A slight breeze that coolly emerges from the daytime heat makes me forget everything.It occurs to me that this same sun is shining on fields where I neither am nor wish to be...From the midst of the city's din a vast silence emerges...How soft it is! But how much softer, perhaps, if I could feel!."
November 13, 2016 –
75.0% "I wake up to make sure exist..."
November 13, 2016 –
76.0% "Whenever I experience an agreeable sensation in the company of others, I begrudge the part they had in the sensation. It strikes me as an indecency that they should feel the same thing I do, that they should penetrate my soul through their own concordantly feeling soul."
November 13, 2016 –
76.0% "Today Death... came to sell at my doorstep. Slower than ever, she unfolded before me the rugs, silks and linens of her oblivion and her consolation. She smiled with satisfaction at the things she showed, without caring that I saw her smile. But as soon as felt tempted to but them, she said they weren't for sale. She hadn't come to make me want the things she showed but, through those things to make me want her."
November 14, 2016 –
83.0% "Love is surrender. The greater the surrender, the greater the love. But total surrender also surrenders its consciousness of the other. The greatest love is therefore death, or forgetting, or renunciation - all forms of love that make love an absurdity."
November 14, 2016 –
83.0% "Love wants to possess, but it doesn't know what possession is. If I'm not my own, how can I be yours, or you be mine? If I don't possess my own being, how can I possess an extraneous being? If I'm even different from my own identical self, how can I be identical to a completely different self?"
November 14, 2016 –
87.0% "What will I be ten years from now, or even five? My friends say I'll be one of the greatest contemporary poets - they say this based on what I've written, not what I may yet write. But even if this is true, I have no idea what it will mean. I have no idea how it will taste. Perhaps glory tastes like death and futility, and triumph smells of rottenness."
November 15, 2016 –
87.0% "This, but with no literary style, is more or less my present mood. Like the watching woman in The Mariner, my eyes sting from having thought about crying. Life pains me little by little, by sips, in the cracks. All of this is printed in tiny letters in a book whose binding is falling apart."
November 16, 2016 – Shelved as: portugal
November 16, 2016 – Shelved as: stars-5
November 16, 2016 – Shelved as: read-2016
November 16, 2016 – Shelved as: favorites-of-all-times
November 16, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-44 of 44 (44 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Lizzy And Pessoa continues:
'No greater romantic adventure exists than to have loved Lady Macbeth with true and directly felt love. After a love like that, what can one do but take a rest, not loving anyone in the real world?'


Dolors Ecstatic that you responded to Pessoa's tedium... he might have been a grey man, but his mind sparkled with colors!


Lizzy Dolors wrote: "Ecstatic that you responded to Pessoa's tedium... he might have been a grey man, but his mind sparkled with colors!"

Thanks Dolors, I hope to post my review soon... L.


Lisa I have enjoyed every single update, Lizzie!


Lizzy Dolors, Lisa and Jean-Paul:
It took me awhile, but my full review is finally out. I just finished it, so forgive me for any mistakes... I will have to read it later on to see if it makes sense. Although it doesn't aim to make sense, more to convey my feelings on The Book of Disquiet. L.


message 6: by Florencia (new) - added it

Florencia You did justice to this beautiful book that has left an indelible impression on many of us. It was a pleasure to relive my own experience with Pessoa's world, through your updates and gorgeous review. A world I enjoy reading about, since I found many similarities that made me feel less alone, but that I wouldn't want to inhabit forever, since I'd feel the exact opposite.
Wonderfully done, Lizzy.


message 7: by Lizzy (last edited Nov 17, 2016 12:54AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lizzy Jean-Paul wrote: "Oh, Lizzy. Thank you from the bottom of my soul for this exquisitely heart-rending review.Your updates have been a source of delight to me and your deeply moving review a devine invitation to dream..."

I am so moved that you enjoyed my words, Jean-Paul, for they come from deep in my heart. So, I feel exposed and I'm rewarded that I might help you a little into dreaming. We don't have to dream much, but we need to be free to dream. And that is what I did today. Thanks, dear friend. L.


Cheryl What a dazzling review of one of my favorite books. Pessoa is absolutely one of my favorite writers and poets and your own reading of him reminds me of my reading experiences with this book and the two collections of his that I've read. His writing is beautiful and heartbreaking and captures the heart of just the right reader. Thanks for doing his work so much justice with your review.


Lizzy Florencia wrote: "You did justice to this beautiful book that has left an indelible impression on many of us. It was a pleasure to relive my own experience with Pessoa's world, through your updates and gorgeous revi..."

Oh, Florencia, thanks for your kind words. I am very glad you enjoyed both my updates and my review. Your opinion is very important to me.

I think I understand, or can imagine how you feel, for I might feel the same way. I wouldn't want to inhabit forever, since I'd feel the exact opposite. We cannot live off dreams, we cannot depend on them, and we cannot forget our real life. But how good it is to be able to dream once in a while and let it take us far away from our problems and our rotine. L.


Lizzy Cheryl wrote: "What a dazzling review of one of my favorite books. Pessoa is absolutely one of my favorite writers and poets and your own reading of him reminds me of my reading experiences with this book and the..."

I should remind you that I was inspired by your beautiful review to read The Book of Disquiet, dear Cheryl. I'm not sure I was able to follow your advice to read it slowly as to be able to make it go on and on. But I tried, only my loving it lead me to go faster than perhaps I should. As you said, writing about it consolidated inside myself all my feelings about it.

Thanks so much for your sincere praise, it warms my heart. L.


message 11: by Gaurav (new) - added it

Gaurav Outstanding review, Lizzy!

Your impressions about the gem from Pessoa are as beautiful as the book itself, his prose is really breathtaking and, I feel, he nullified the notions of genres, for it's difficult to put his works into any particular genres, or any forms of literature for that matter; And how aptly the lines- As soon as I turned the last page, I realized how much I was going to miss The Book of Disquiet. For it has been my faithful companion for over two weeks, as my friends are witness for their company was always there with me. As soon as I turned the last page, I worried, what am I going to do now? - described the feelings of a passionate reader who thoroughly enjoys the pleasant sojourn with an extraordinary work of art :)


Lizzy Gaurav wrote: "Outstanding review, Lizzy!

Your impressions about the gem from Pessoa are as beautiful as the book itself, his prose is really breathtaking and, I feel, he nullified the notions of genres, for it'..."


You made my day, Gaurav, with your beautiful words; as I read them, the morning sun appears in the horizon and I know that my own words have been understood. I hope to deserve all your praise, at least I know I'm sincere. Nevertheless, I am still lost without The Book of Disquiet to read, and now I have to withstand with my remembrances or find another gem to keep me company. Thank you, dear friend. L.


message 13: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Superb review, Lizzy! I especially liked, "...And so I am his soul mate for I complete him when I leaf through the pages of his book. As are all his readers that give life to his writings You've planted such a beautiful thought in my mind, that once we really connect with a writer, we are soul mates, completing each other. I've often felt that way but never had the words to express it so well. And so, I would disagree with your other statement, I am not a writer for this review proves exactly the opposite. What is a writer, but someone who can touch someone's soul with the power of his/her words? And that you've done! Someone should write a review of your review. : ) I enjoyed this so very much.


Lizzy Julie wrote: "Superb review, Lizzy! I especially liked, "...And so I am his soul mate for I complete him when I leaf through the pages of his book. As are all his readers that give life to his writings You've pl..."

Wow, Julie, you're very bad for my ego... I think I was inspired here, but with such a marvellous subject matter it's easy to build on it and even surprise ourselves. I am afraid to be labeled a 'writer', for so much is expect of those that delve in writing, and I imagine I would end up desolate for not reaching up there with the best. However, I must confess that I love to write about my readings, and with that I try to be content. Afterall, who would not love to be a talented writer?

Thanks so much for your feedback, every writer loves to be read, and it seems that you consider me in that category. I am honored for such high regard, dear friend. L.


Junta Brilliant write-up, Lizzy - BoD is still my all-time favourite book, and I loved following your updates. So glad to see another friend enjoy this book, it was interesting reading where you could and couldn't sympathise with his thoughts/impressions. He is a truly unique writer, isn't he? :-)


Lizzy Junta wrote: "Brilliant write-up, Lizzy - BoD is still my all-time favourite book, and I loved following your updates. So glad to see another friend enjoy this book, it was interesting reading where you could an..."

There's no question of Pessoa's quality as a writer, Junta. He is majestic. And there's no doubt about it, we both consider The Book of Disquiet an all-time-favorite. I would have to remember my other favorites to see if it would be the one-at-the-top! Maybe, but in its category certainly for it is unique. I am glad you enjoyed both the updates and the review. Thanks. L.


message 17: by Vessey (last edited Nov 17, 2016 12:53PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vessey Yesterday I became friends with a man from Portugal. He even has Fernando Pessoa as his avatar. Here’s what he told me:

Almost all of Pessoa's texts and poems were not published when he was alive. From The Book of Disquiet, only twelve fragments were published in some magazines . The others (almost all of the fragments ) were found inside of an old chest, which belonged to his niece Manuela.

I can't help feeling sad that it was so. Maybe he would have found some peace, some existence beyond dreams had his work been appreciated.

You say that you can’t be the poet he was because you don’t suffer from the same loneliness and aversion to sentiment. I think that creativity has less to do with what we feel and more with the way we process those feelings. There are those for whom pain is a catalyst. For others it is a limitation. But I agree that some of the greatest literature and music probably wouldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for the inner struggles of artists. Still, I hope that pain isn’t really the necessary ingredient, that great art created by others can be an inspiration enough for every new artist. This was yet another one of your powerful and beautiful reviews. Thank you so much, Lizzy! You ARE a poet


Lizzy Vessey wrote: "Yesterday I became friends with a man from Portugal. He even has Fernando Pessoa as his avatar. Here’s what he told me:

Almost all of Pessoa's texts and poems were not published when he was alive...."


Isn't it sad, dear Vessey, that Pessoa didn't receive his tribute in life? But this was not unheard of in his time, even worst for poets I imagine. Reading The Book of Disquiet, we perceive that he knew he would only be recognized postmortem. How could he not be disillusioned? Nevertheless, he produced so much...

You are so right, my friend, creativity doesn't depend on suffering. But, as you complement so beautifully, some of the greatest literature and music probably wouldn't have existed if not for the inner struggle of artists. Yes, that is what I felt reading Pessoa. He suffered, but he dreamed. So, there's hope. And there's immense beauty.

Thanks for your kind words, but mainly thank you for such an enriching contribution, dear friend. L.


message 19: by Nuno (last edited Nov 17, 2016 01:38PM) (new) - added it

Nuno If we imagine a straight line , we can find Pessoa's lovers between two points . On the left side , the ones who appreciate him aesthetically , but not philosophically . The ones who say : this man was a great writer , but I don't subscribe his way of thinking . On the other extreme of our straight line , we have the ones who love the style and the ideas , and this is a very dangerous place , as you can imagine . When we are reading the book , we are always more to the right side , due to the extraordinary and powerful seduction of Pessoa's words , but after reading it , our daily life brings us more to the other side , or , at least , to a place somewhere in the middle of our straight line .

Excuse me for my intrusion , Lizzy . I found your review ( happily ) because I am the man Vessey was talking about :)


Sidharth Vardhan This is my top most favorite book, Lizzy, numero uno. And your review captures so powerfully all that I have felt but never managed to phrase - the articulation of deepest feelings, the connection one feels with author, the sense of void that suddenly shows up at the end of the book. Thanks for sharing those amazing quotes too.


message 21: by Lizzy (last edited Nov 17, 2016 01:46PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lizzy Nuno wrote: "If we imagine a straight line , we can find Pessoa's lovers between two points . On the left side , the ones who appreciate him aesthetically , but not philosophically . The ones who say : this man..."

Thanks Nuno for adding so interestingly to our discussion. It's always good to learn more about an author we like. I don't know where I would situate myself in the division you explained, I only know that I find his words beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even if I disagree with many things he seemed to believe in or felt. I hope I pointed out our differences in my review, despite the fact that I didn't analyze his work as a literary critic would. Thanks again for your input. L.


Lizzy Sidharth wrote: "This is my top most favorite book, Lizzy, numero uno. And your review captures so powerfully all that I have felt but never managed to phrase - the articulation of deepest feelings, the connection ..."

It seems we have a lot in common, dear Sidharth! Ah, his tedium, his constant dreaming and his doubts about his writing. I'll have to revisit one day. Thanks for your praise, it's much appreciated. L.


message 23: by Jaidee (new)

Jaidee Simply lovely reflections Lizzy....nothing profound to add...just my appreciation :)


message 24: by Seemita (new) - added it

Seemita Oh dear Lizzy! What a lovely review to brightnen up my day! The power of dreams and the thoughts surging through their veins can keep us going in life is a fact. But when Pessoa sprinkles them with his magical, exquisite words, they assume a never-before dazzle. I enjoyed reading about your questions, your answers and more importantly, about your desire to choose neither in particular but just finding a happy nook in between them. Thank you for this gem, my friend.


Lizzy Seemita wrote: "Oh dear Lizzy! What a lovely review to brightnen up my day! The power of dreams and the thoughts surging through their veins can keep us going in life is a fact. But when Pessoa sprinkles them with..."

You're too kind, Seemita, I wonder. The two weeks I was immersed in The Book of Disquiet I learned how to dream all over again. And nothing can take away your dreams, they simply warm your heart when what's outside keeps trying to intrude. To question is to be alive, so I question everything and even more so myself. But your words warms me inside, it's wonderful when you expose yourself and it's valued. You don't have to thank me, rather I should thank you, dear friend, for understanding me. L.


Rohan Srivastava Dear Lizzy, this is as close as someone could get to how I felt while reading the book. I could feel Pessoa's words run through my soul and this review just refreshed every sensation I had. Thanks!


Lizzy Rohan wrote: "Dear Lizzy, this is as close as someone could get to how I felt while reading the book. I could feel Pessoa's words run through my soul and this review just refreshed every sensation I had. Thanks!"

Thanks, Rohan. I'm gratified that through my review you felt Pessoa's beautiful words reverberating within your soul. That's what I felt exactly reading 'The Book of Disquiet', so I think I understand. It was a pleasure to write this review. L.


Annie Beautiful review. Can I ask what edition/translation you read?


Lizzy Annie wrote: "Beautiful review. Can I ask what edition/translation you read?"

Thanks, Annie. I read the Penguin Classics edition. L.


message 30: by Joe (new) - added it

Joe Excellent review. Very thorough! I'll definitely have to read it now. Thanks :)


Lizzy Joe wrote: "Excellent review. Very thorough! I'll definitely have to read it now. Thanks :)"

Thanks, Joe. I hope you like it as much as I did. L.


message 32: by Ian (last edited Feb 20, 2017 06:04PM) (new) - added it

Ian "Marvin" Graye You're much, much more than "only a reader", Lizzy!


Lizzy Ian wrote: "You're much, much more than "only a reader"!"

I love reading and I try being more than just a reader, Ian. Thanks. L.


Antonio What a marvelous review, Lizzy! Glad to know I'm not the only one who started to miss this book as soon as I finished it.


Lizzy Antonio wrote: "What a marvelous review, Lizzy! Glad to know I'm not the only one who started to miss this book as soon as I finished it."

Thanks so much, Antonio. I'm glad you liked it. L.


Matthias I'm glad Vessey pointed me back to this exceptional review. I had read it before but now, after having read the book myself, I am struck by your review's power even more. Your analysis and own thoughts are the perfect company for the quotes you so generously shared. Bravo!


Lizzy Matthias wrote: "I'm glad Vessey pointed me back to this exceptional review. I had read it before but now, after having read the book myself, I am struck by your review's power even more. Your analysis and own thou..."

Back from a few days away from GR, I could not have a better welcome than your comment, Matthias. I have missed writing reviews and you reminded me how I love it all. The Book of Disquiet is still much with me, but one day I'll certainly revisit it. Thanks so much for your kind words. And thanks to Vessey for remembering it. L.


message 38: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael This is such a beautiful review, and it reminds us all how personal the act of reading is, how we're not just reviewing books but reviewing our relationship with books. I found this review so engrossing, so wonderful in its own right, because you were so thoughtful about your own relationship with the work and open about how deeply it moved you. Thank you for sharing this experience. It moved me deeply as well.


Lizzy Michael wrote: "This is such a beautiful review, and it reminds us all how personal the act of reading is, how we're not just reviewing books but reviewing our relationship with books. I found this review so engro..."

Thanks so much for your sensitive comment, Michael. You're so right, my relationship with this book and its author was very personal in how it touched my soul and my dreams, and I felt the need to write about it and open my feelings here. L.


message 40: by Lars (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lars Jerlach Fantastic review of an excellent book.


message 41: by Ilse (new) - added it

Ilse What a delight to read your wonderful dialogue with Pessoa, Lizzy - and how much food for thought even one single quote offers! 'I believe most people think with their feelings, whereas I feel with my thoughts.' - likely to incite a conversation taking the whole evening.


Lizzy Lars wrote: "Fantastic review of an excellent book."

Thanks, Lars. L.


Lizzy Ilse wrote: "What a delight to read your wonderful dialogue with Pessoa, Lizzy - and how much food for thought even one single quote offers! 'I believe most people think with their feelings, whereas I feel with..."

You're so right, Ilse, what we do here is talk with books and their writers, but above all with our friends. And what rewarding activity this is. Thanks for your touching comment, it makes writing reviews so much more rewarding. L.


David Schaafsma Wonderful review, Lizzy. I finally read it, and also loved it.


back to top