Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Two Books by Portuguese Authors

Recently, I've read two more books by Portuguese authors and, as I have done before, I'm grouping them together. Both books are by authors I had read before and I expected good things from both.

Autobiografia is a fictional story the author developed with the help of his own experience as a young writer and the known facts about Saramago, one of our greatest writers. The title is daring, as if it's an autobiography of the two authors, the real and the ones created in this book, but shared by a third voice. It is as confusing as I make it sound, yes.

I think this author is one of the best when it comes to Contemporary Portuguese Literature - if this is a thing - because his way with words and care for detail, both fictional and cultural, is immense and transpires in each of his books. To me, this book worked out mostly due to its writing, which is rich and opulent at times but always seducing the reader. 

Regarding the idea of the several authors and the mix of reality and fiction...that I wasn't as impressed by because it did seem the focus was on how good or how special some passages/situations were instead of allowing me to want to like the characters and see what was destined for them. There were pages where I only wanted to let go of literary questions and stick to the narrative but since this was so confusing I've finished more or less bewildered by what this was all about.
Grade: 7/10

A Cidade de Ulisses is yet another attempt at something more literary and erudite under the mask of a supposed fictional story. It might sound mean said this way, but, just like the other book, I also think this one suffered from the dual attempts and the lack of structure...perhaps it would have been better the focus were to be in one of the two main aspects in the story.

This is a tale about a couple who lived in Lisbon, which some historians claim was once visited by Ulysses (or Odysseus) in his travel back to Ithaca after the Trojan War. I won't go into as I don't know enough on the subject but the author uses a lot of cultural and historical content in this novel. I'd say this is as much a sort of romance story as it is an obvious ode to the city of Lisbon, which is certainly rich in all levels. I think there's no doubt the author is very knowledgeable and has used countless information about plenty of areas to support this idea...

As for the fictional romance, that wasn't as well done, the character never seemed to be very engaging to me and what they live through even less so. There's a lot of talk about how they love the arts and we can find many references to this notion in what happens, but to be honest, this isn't as simple to understand if one only thinks this will be a romance. I think the author could have done much better, as she did with some short stories I've read by her in the summer.
Grade: 5/10

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