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The Book of Disquiet
Synopses & Reviews
"Pessoa's genius, like Beckett's or the philosopher E. M. Cioran's, lies in his deliberate abandonment of the conventions of his genre. This is not the book to turn to for easy escape; it cannot be read quickly. It's not the book to study for plot or story; voice and perception guide its movement, as does the dream-life. It's fiction, philosophy, and poetry. It's a book informed by solitude....This life — of thought and feeling, of solitude — is what matters to Pessoa, to Soares, Caeiro, and the others. And in looking at it, Pessoa is unsparing. He won't shield his eyes from what he ultimately sees behind his many selves: emptiness. His is a quiet meditation, which acts as antidote to the noise and vapid words coming at us from all angles, from advertisements and television, and from unfortunately all too often, other books. This one, however, lives up to one of its author's proclamations: 'Art gives us the illusion of liberation from the sordid business of being.'" Chris Bolton, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)
"There is a distinguished mind at work beneath the totally acceptable dullness of clerking. The mind is that of Pessoa. We must be given the chance to learn more about him."—Anthony Burgess, Observer
Seated at his desk in the Lisbon’s Rua dos Douradores, Bernardo Soares, an assistant book-keeper, writes his diary—a self-deprecating reflection on the sheer distance between the loftiness of his feelings and the humdrum reality of his everyday life.
"This is a prize-winning translation of a classic of existential literature—a book acknowledged by the critics as "the most beautiful diary of the century."
Fernando Pessoa grew up in Durban, South Africa, where his stepfather was Portuguese consul. He returned to Lisbon in 1905 and worked as a clerk until his death in 1935.
"There is a distinguished mind at work beneath the totally acceptable dullness of clerking. The mind is that of Pessoa. We must be given the chance to learn more about him." Anthony Burgess, Observer
"Readers with a particular interest in modernism will find this work indispensable." Publishers Weekly
"[T]he cerebral workings of a first-rate thinker on the dilemma of life. Full of fresh metaphors and unique perceptions, The Book of Disquiet can be casually scanned and read profitably even at random." Jack Shreve, Allegany Community Coll., Cumberland, Md., Library Journal
"This book has moved me more than anything I have read in years. I have rarely encountered such exhilarating lugubriousness." Paul Bailey, Daily Telegraph
Seated at his desk in the Lisbon's Rua dos Douradores, lowly office clerk, Bernado Soares, writes his diary - a self-deprecating reflection on the sheer distance between the loftiness of his feelings and the humdrum reality of his everyday life.
The first translation of a classic of existential literature--"the most beautiful diary of the century."
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