Fado (Polish Literature) Fado discussion

The name of this book

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message 1: by Diana (last edited Feb 17, 2010 05:41PM) (new)

Diana Rosa As a Portuguese, I can't be indifferent to this title, because Fado is a traditional music genre from my country and one of the biggests symbols of Portugal around the world.

So, can anybody tell me please, what is the originin of this book's name?
In Portuguese, Fado means fate, destiny... Is there any link between Portuguese Fado and this Fado?

Thank you. ;)

message 2: by Clouddancer (last edited Feb 23, 2010 11:05AM) (new)

Clouddancer And I finally found the time to translate the aswer for you. From a 2006 interview (

JJ: Why did you hame it "Fado"? This is the opposite end of Europe, fado...

AS: I wanted a book with an elegant name. I wanted a book with a foreign name that's at the same time a bit mysterious, because not everyone knows what fado is. But fado appers in the book, too, in a short piece on Albany. Monika and I cross the Albany-Macedonia border, we take a taxi costing us some 10 euro, which drives us to the first albanian town near the border. It's Pogradec by the Ohryckie lake. A bizarre town, which was built partially by the Chinese in the 60s, partially by the Italians beofre the war, when they used it as a colony, partialy by the Albanians. It was totally messed up, but also beautiful: a mosque, pigs grazing by the mosque, women washing huge carpets in the Ohryckie lake, the whole town is out of job, there's at least a dozen billiards places on one or two streets. (...) We drive in this taxi, an old mercedes, and suddenly there's portugal fado on in albanian radio. They were playing this type of music there, like on our radio. Perhaps thirty-forty bars of it... You have to know what fado is, see the albanian scenery. Two edges of Europe, where everything gets so strangely interlaced, that one feels that there's something that's giving him a chance, there's something that allows for such a coincidence of landscape and fado. And then I feel that something happened with the world there, for a second...
This year I went back there. I took a car and we drove into this Pogradec, also via the macedonian border. I had a lot of fado CDs with me, I turned the music on... and nothing happened. There was none of this brilliant loop of the matter, when one feels like he's crossing over to the other side of the world. But I didnt bear a grudge; I just went there to check it. I stayed in Pogradec for two-three more days. And that's where fado came from. But to be honest I wanted to have a title that's elegant, and I wanted people to laugh at me because I'm pretentious.

JJ: Fado is an elegant title. Fado is realy something exceptional. This music is extremely emotional, but also melancholic, and it somehow fits Albany...

AS: But, you know, fado, it's also "fate", "fatum". And a part of this book is about destiny, it's an attempt to reexamine what distresses me the most: that I won't have a different destiny. That's why the book ends with a text about my father's family home in Podlasie. You know, I'm 46, and I came full circle, it's time to deal with really important things, like my father's family home (in a metaphorical sense, of course), like my life, my country. generally speaking this is a book about coming home. (...)

[edited to correct typos:]

message 3: by Diana (new)

Diana Rosa Oh, thank you very much for the explanation. (It must have been a lot of work, to translate it all... Thank you).

Ok, now I understand, but there's something I dislike here: the author associates the most Portuguese thing we have with Albany. Should I be proud of it? Well, it means our music and culture is spread abroad, which is a very very good thing, but on the other hand, I don't like the fact that the author talks about Fado as link to Albany.

«You have to know what fado is, see the albanian scenery.» - Wrong. Excuse me Sir, but you have to come to Portugal and see the roots of Fado, here in the country that really breathes it.

«(...)there's something that allows for such a coincidence of landscape and fado.» Albanian landscape again. Seriously, he should come to Lisbon and feel the Fado that lives on the streets.

I apologize for my apparent rudeness and extreme patriotism, but I felt a bit offended. But maybe it's just me...

message 4: by Clouddancer (new)

Clouddancer Yup, it's just you.

message 5: by Diana (new)

Diana Rosa C'mon, this is as bad as go to Brazil and say "oh, Irish Jigs make a lot of sense here", or talk about samba and bossa nova related to China.

Srly, there's something wrong here.

message 6: by Clouddancer (new)

Clouddancer Um, no. He's not appropriating fado either for himself or for the Albanians. He's not saying it's not Portuguese. He's not saying "here's a cool word, I don't know what it means.. oh it's a type of music? I never heard it, and it has no relation to the book whatsoever, but I'm gonna use it nonetheless".

"Srly", if you don't understand why and how intelligent people are able to arrive at such metaphorical, intertextual, cross-national/cross-cultural connections, well then I'm just sorry for you. You must think there's "something wrong" with most of the world's literature.

And actually, I would very much want to read it if someone wrote a well argued account of going to Brazil and dicrovering "oh, Irish Jigs make a lot of sense here". Because I'd be extremely curious to find out why.

message 7: by Diana (new)

Diana Rosa Well, good for us we have a different point of view, although it is not an intelligence problem, as you said.

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