Thursday, November 24, 2022

Two Books by Portuguese Authors

Here I am with another post where I summarize two more reads by Portuguese authors. This time, one of the books is by an author I had read before, and the other is a non fiction which I only read because I curious about the theme.
I got both books at the library.


Felicidade by João Tordo is the story of a young man who describes his life and choices from the moment he went out with Felicidade, a fellow student, and she died in his arms. They went to the same school but she was one of triplet sisters, whom everyone else looked up to for some reason. The three sisters were the fantasy of the boys and the envy of the girls, so when our protagonist goes on a date with one of them, it's like a dream. Things end badly and the narrator feels this affects all his life, all his choices and he keep wondering if they hadn't gone out, would he have followed the life pattern he did? 
In Portuguese, Felicidade can be translated as "happiness" but it does work as a female name. I think this choice was an irony of the author because the story is all but happy! There is also some repetition and too much use of what we see as being bad options, which suites the idea of this book but to me, as a reader, made the whole thing too depressing and so many situations avoidable. Sure, sometimes we make wrong choices and do wrong things but to only do that as the narrator wants to convince us he did because of that one bad time... this is a very easily readable story, yes, but not the most fascinating. Worth it for the amazing ability the author has to include all kinds of references, especially the historical and cultural, related to the country, in the middle of the fictional plot.
Grade: 7/10

Fátima Desmascarada by Joao Ilharco is a non fiction book published in 1971, where the author claims to explain why the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in 1917 to three shepherds in a (then) small place in Portugal was an hoax. The title can literally mean "Fátima unmasked" and I had an amazing time reading this older book because I found it fascinating considering the kind of wording used. 
The author is clearly partial and he does his best to show case why he thinks everything was made up and his "evidence" is not completely academic nor... well, impartial, as a piece of journalism should be, but it was certainly entertaining. Of course, since he set himself to prove the whole thing was made up, he obviously uses what he can to make it seem so. 
Whether someone believes the Virgin Mary can reveal Herself to people or not, I must say the author presents a very simple but logical set of explanations for why it couldn't be true. I'm not saying people should believe in this or not, I suppose faith, as so many things, is relative and personal, but as a formal text presenting facts and then including all the stories people developed at the time about the subject... one can debate the issue.
What an amazing read this was, and so much funnier to think it wouldn't be possible for a publisher to let such a text go out to the public like this nowadays....the author was not politically correct, to say the least.
Grade: 8/10

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