K.'s Reviews > The Book of Disquiet

The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
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's review
Feb 11, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, read-and-reread, ne-plus-ultra
Read in January, 2009

My favourite book ever!
There's no need in fact to write a review for this book.Because every fragment of it represents separately a preface; the preface of a book that never begins,and never ends...

I don’t know how many souls I have.
I’ve changed at every moment.
I always feel like a stranger.
I’ve never seen or found myself.
From being so much, I have only soul.
A man who has soul has no calm.
A man who sees is just what he sees.
A man who feels is not who he is.

Attentive to what I am and see,
I become them and stop being I.
Each of my dreams and each desire
Belongs to whoever had it, not me.
I am my own landscape,
I watch myself journey -
Various, mobile, and alone.
Here where I am I can’t feel myself.

That’s why I read, as a stranger,
My being as if it were pages.
Not knowing what will come
And forgetting what has passed,
I note in the margin of my reading
What I thought I felt.
Rereading, I wonder: “Was that me?”
God knows, because he wrote it.

Fernando Pessoa
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Quotes K. Liked

Fernando Pessoa
“My soul is impatient with itself, as with a bothersome child; its restlessness keeps growing and is forever the same. Everything interests me, but nothing holds me. I attend to everything, dreaming all the while. […]. I'm two, and both keep their distance — Siamese twins that aren't attached.”
Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

Fernando Pessoa
“Being tired of all illusions and of everything about illusions – the loss of illusions, the uselessness of having them, the prefatigue of having to have them in order to lose them, the sadness of having had them, the intellectual shame of having had them knowing that they would have to end this way.”
Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

Fernando Pessoa
“Today, suddenly, I reached an absurd but unerring conclusion. In a moment of enlightenment, I realized that I'm nobody, absolutely nobody. When the lightning flashed, I saw that what I had thought to be a city was in fact a deserted plain and, in the same sinister light that revealed me to myself, there seemed to be no sky above it. I was robbed of any possibility of having existed before the world. If I was ever reincarnated, I must have done so without myself, without a self to reincarnate.
I am the outskirts of some non-existent town, the long-winded prologue to an unwritten book. I'm nobody, nobody. I don't know how to feel or think or love. I'm a character in a novel as yet unwritten, hovering in the air and undone before I've even existed, amongst the dreams of someone who never quite managed to breathe life into me.
I'm always thinking, always feeling, but my thoughts lack all reason, my emotions all feeling. I'm falling through a trapdoor, through infinite, infinitous space, in a directionless, empty fall. My soul is a black maelstrom, a great madness spinning about a vacuum, the swirling of a vast ocean around a hole in the void, and in the waters, more like whirlwinds than waters, float images of all I ever saw or heard in the world: houses, faces, books, boxes, snatches of music and fragments of voices, all caught up in a sinister, bottomless whirlpool.
And I, I myself, am the centre that exists only because the geometry of the abyss demands it; I am the nothing around which all this spins, I exist so that it can spin, I am a centre that exists only because every circle has one. I, I myself, am the well in which the walls have fallen away to leave only viscous slime. I am the centre of everything surrounded by the great nothing.
And it is as if hell itself were laughing within me but, instead of the human touch of diabolical laughter, there's the mad croak of the dead universe, the circling cadaver of physical space, the end of all worlds drifting blackly in the wind, misshapen, anachronistic, without the God who created it, without God himself who spins in the dark of darks, impossible, unique, everything.
If only I could think! If only I could feel!”
Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

Fernando Pessoa
“I wasn’t meant for reality, but life came and found me.”
Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

Fernando Pessoa
“I asked for very little from life, and even this little was denied me. A nearby field, a ray of sunlight, a little bit of calm along with a bit of bread, not to feel oppressed by the knowledge that I exist, not to demand anything from others, and not to have others demand anything from me - this was denied me, like the spare change we might deny a beggar not because we're mean-hearted but because we don't feel like unbuttoning our coat.”
Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

Reading Progress

02/03/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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s.penkevich Such a great book! I really need to finish it, I've been slowly reading pieces at a time since January. His book of poetry is incredible too.

Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly Right, 5 stars too!

message 3: by K. (new) - rated it 5 stars

K. More than 5 stars if it would be possible! :)

Richard Stuart absolutely! many more than 5 stars... many, many more!

message 5: by K. (new) - rated it 5 stars

K. I am glad you also like Pessoa. He is a master for me.
There is a quote that came up to my mind, taken from "The catcher in the rye" : ...is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it".
Yeah,it's childish but I'd like he was a terrific friend of mine and i could call him and discuss about the disquietude of life.
I actually talked with him many times... I had a drink with Pessoa in a bar in Lisbona,while outside was raining...Yes, i did! I talked to Pessoa! I am Pessoa!

Richard Stuart haha :) we are all Pessoa without even knowing it ourselves!

message 7: by Kay (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kay Barrett It's as though he's speaking from inside my soul. I carry this book everywhere with me.

Matt yeah, that just said pretty much what I've been trying to articulate forever

Corey What a book! There is nothing else in all of literature like it.

Charles Tarane Six stars! Have you read "You Must Remember This"? It has a poem that reminds me of this, that ends with a great line like: I cannot remember how long, how many years / since I have been myself." !

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