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Fado Alexandrino Second read As is my habit, I shall not attempt to summarize the story, just my take on what it is about A brilliant novel by Portuguese author, Ant nio Lobo Antunes Fado Alexandrino is an alcohol fuelled crawl through Portugal s colonial wars, the Carnation Revolution, and the post revolution period, all portrayed in their hideous glory As with all of his novels, the author takes his readers into a world of violence, sex, drunkenness, hatred and love Simultaneously, he has created a work o Second read As is my habit, I shall not attempt to summarize the story, just my take on what it is about A brilliant novel by Portuguese author, Ant nio Lobo Antunes Fado Alexandrino is an alcohol fuelled crawl through Portugal s colonial wars, the Carnation Revolution, and the post revolution period, all portrayed in their hideous glory As with all of his novels, the author takes his readers into a world of violence, sex, drunkenness, hatred and love Simultaneously, he has created a work of genius in which the conscientious reader can discern the pain and the confusion in the stories of each of the central characters Most importantly, he has left this reader, at least, in a story filled with deprivation, disgust and humour, with a deeply felt sense of empathy with the human condition At the end of the book, I found myself wondering if, given the circumstances of each of their lives, I would have been able to overcome a similar fate, a fate which, on the surface seems to be so easily avoidable As with all of us, each character wants to be understood, wants to understand, wants to simply live what the good life Don t we all This is the story of five men who gather to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their return from the war of counter insurgency in the then colony of Mozambique They are the soldier, the communications officer, the second lieutenant, the captain, and the lieutenant colonel During the long night of talking, drinking and whoring, each relates, often in painful detail, the circumstances of his life Only four of the characters are speaking The fifth is generally the one being addressed Often they are speaking over each other, not paying much attention to what the others are saying Often they are confused, bewildered, distressed by another s story Typical human communication But I shall leave it those of you who decide to read the book to discern the story Keep in mind that Ant nio Lobo Antunes wants to portray people as they actually feel and behave, so it is not always easy to sort the characters out Also, as the characters speak, events do not always unfold chronologically Also, note that the book is divided into three sections, each with four chapters Thus, each character is given three chapters to tell his story in each section but it s not always that simple If you take on this wonderful challenge, I would suggest that you make a list of the four characters then write down the various names they are given throughout along with the events and the women in their lives You may also wish to list the names of the women as they come up and be on the lookout for those known by different names This is probably not at all necessary for those not addled by old age as I am Do read it It is a very human, even touching, story with lots of heartfelt humour Ant nio Lobo Antunes does a wonderful job of putting us in touch with our inner humanity Really H uns dias atr s, ouvi uma entrevista antiga do Gon alo M Tavares em que ele dizia querer evitar as palavras casadas nascen a Ficou me na cabe a a express o e quando voltei ao gigantesco tomo que o Fado Alexandrino, percebi o qu o bem encaixava este querer na obra do Lobo Antunes.Li livros do Lobo Antunes contemp raneo e agora estou a fazer uma leitura cronol gica, tendo come ado no primeiro e assim em diante Fado Alexandrino parece me uma obra de transi o entre as duas fases Menos a H uns dias atr s, ouvi uma entrevista antiga do Gon alo M Tavares em que ele dizia querer evitar as palavras casadas nascen a Ficou me na cabe a a express o e quando voltei ao gigantesco tomo que o Fado Alexandrino, percebi o qu o bem encaixava este querer na obra do Lobo Antunes.Li livros do Lobo Antunes contemp raneo e agora estou a fazer uma leitura cronol gica, tendo come ado no primeiro e assim em diante Fado Alexandrino parece me uma obra de transi o entre as duas fases Menos autobiogr fico que os anteriores, mais denso, mais intrincado, mais pr ximo da maneira circular de escrever de agora neste limbo, que se ergue esta hist ria assente em quatro personagens principais Cinco militares, companheiros de armas em Mo ambique, juntam se para um jantar Todos eles v o contando vez ao capit o, que no narrador, a hist ria da sua vida at aquele momento O autor divide o livro em 3 atos, pr revolu o, revolu o e p s revolu o assim, apoiado nas vicissitudes destes homens e das suas mulheres, que o autor disseca a hist ria sociecon mica do Portugal da poca A fuga para o Brasil das fam lias ricas com medo dos comunistas, os miliares revolucion rios, o falhan o do 25 de Novembro, o saneamento dos oficiais, a mis ria dos bairros de Lisboa.A escrita irreprenss vel, mais domada que em livros anteriores, menos pomposa Como disse no in cio, o autor encontra met foras bel ssimas onde ningu m as veria, junta palavras que nunca seriam g meas O estilo inigual vel e aparece neste livro mais depurado, com menos plumas, mais eficaz O autor admitiu j que os primeiros livros s o vaidosos, tinha muita vontade de mostrar a cultura que tinha, os livros que lia, os quadros que conhecia, a m sica que ouvia Neste o autor despe se desses adere os e afunda se pela primeira vez na sua obra em vidas alheias, nas quais enxerta um pouco da sua N o conhe o na l ngua portuguesa autor t o bom a criar personagens, que surgem no livro t o verdadeiras nas suas for as e fraquezas que podiam ser o nosso vizinho do lado Difficult, dense, dirty, disturbing, dazzling Everyone is familiar with the concept of a great american novel This book might be easily called a great Portuguese novel It encompasses traumatic, relatively recent past of the country including desperate bloody wars for african colonial possessions followed by the revolution against the dictatorship in 1974 and its aftermath Four main characters, all ex millitary men irrevocably damaged by the war, are having the reunion 10 years after coming back The book is intermingled monologue of t Everyone is familiar with the concept of a great american novel This book might be easily called a great Portuguese novel It encompasses traumatic, relatively recent past of the country including desperate bloody wars for african colonial possessions followed by the revolution against the dictatorship in 1974 and its aftermath Four main characters, all ex millitary men irrevocably damaged by the war, are having the reunion 10 years after coming back The book is intermingled monologue of these four during the events of this very long night To say that the characters are unlikable would be an understatement, but they are deeply human all the same There is a lot of violence, sex and black humour on these pages There are also very acute and bleak observations of a society under the dramatic change, the meaning of this change and how each human being is forced to be a part of it It is a very male dominated novel There are a lot of female characters but we only see them through the eyes of these four men For them, the women are either the objects of their admiration or instruments for fulfilling their needs This attitude reminded me the essay, Courtly Love, or, Woman as Thing by Zizek It is my third novel by Antunes and i love his unique style of writing It could be called stream of consciousness , but it is the stream by at least three characters In this novel, there are four voices talking, moving forwards and backwards in time, between the reality and the imaginary of their thoughts It is impossible to appreciate this novel without giving it a full concentration But it pays off in my case He manages to combine very bleak, sometimes violent content with lyricism and beautiful imaginary He also is very good in showing the different layers of a moment how the outside reality is juxtaposed with the one inside someone s head For example, in the fragment below the protagonist is talking to another character, the captain Mendes, all along thinking about his departure from a woman in Goa many years agoShe didn t even speak in the morning when I left her in the tumbledown house beneath a huge thunderclap, where invisible hands were torturing the clouds as if they were bread dough The trees were agitated with tics, the brimstone light was shedding quick copper coloured flashes over the few unmatched pieces of furniture Not a word, not a sound, her damp fingers extended, an absolute lack of expression on her face, the Jeep heaving hesitantly in the windstorm, battered by loose leaves, trash, gusts of water, splashed of mud brought up be the wheels, just like spit Through the body, the words, the face, the tunic of captain Mendes, he saw the house growing smaller in the distance, the restless river, the anguish of the woods, his own heart, microscopic, vibrating Now you are watching the rain fall in some village or other, cookstoves fashioned out of three piles of stones over a small cone of hot coals and twisted logs It is a long novel It is a demanding novel I have to admit, I felt a bit tired by the last 50 pages The knowledge of context would be probably a plus However, it is a wise and stylistically superb book Em 1982 um grupo de camaradas re ne se para jantar e retomam contacto ap s os dez anos separados, desde a chegada da guerra colonial em 1972 Do grupo, e n o vou dizer os nomes porque faz parte da experi ncia da leitura descobrir o nome de cada um, faz parte um alferes, um capit o, um oficial de transmiss es, um tenente coronel e um soldado O livro est estruturado em tr s partes, antes da revolu o, durante o 25 de Abril de 1974, e ap s a revolu o Cada parte, qual verso alexandrino que possu Em 1982 um grupo de camaradas re ne se para jantar e retomam contacto ap s os dez anos separados, desde a chegada da guerra colonial em 1972 Do grupo, e n o vou dizer os nomes porque faz parte da experi ncia da leitura descobrir o nome de cada um, faz parte um alferes, um capit o, um oficial de transmiss es, um tenente coronel e um soldado O livro est estruturado em tr s partes, antes da revolu o, durante o 25 de Abril de 1974, e ap s a revolu o Cada parte, qual verso alexandrino que possui 12 s labas, ter 12 cap tulos No in cio do jantar retomaram a 1972, cada um falar dos primeiros tempos ap s o regresso, quando j nos digestivos a narrativa move se para a revolu o e os acontecimentos mais recentes, p s 25 de Abril j s o narrados em casa do alferes onde a noite acaba com um grupinho sui generis de meninas Destes cinco ex combatentes s um era claramente contra o regime e este facto torna se interessante no seu pr prio destino ao longo desta noite de reencontro.Lembro me do Ant nio Lobo Antunes referir numa entrevista que o seu pai s o considerou escritor ap s Fado Alexandrino e percebe se Este quinto livro quebra com os quatro anteriores e surge j com o que ser mais tarde o seu estilo definitivo, o fluxo de consci ncia j praticamente permanente, ainda h aus ncia de musicalidade narrativa e ainda presente narrativa na terceira pessoa Al m do pr prio livro nos levar por caminhos inesperados, sendo bastante espirituoso e divertido, nunca perde f lego em mais de 700 p ginas, continuo a maravilhar me com a capacidade do Ant nio em colidir informa es entre hist rias distintas levando a mem ria a abrir os seus outros livros j lidos para alterar, ir buscar, acrescentar informa o O seu pen ltimo cap tulo sublime Em Fado Alexandrino h uma pertinente den ncia da revolu o, o que implicou e n o mudou, o que implicou e piorou E a perda do caminho, n o s dos que estiveram na guerra, tamb m a dos que os viram partir Podendo at saber que possuem um lar, n o vislumbram onde fica O que me faz mais impress o,, tudo ter mudado na minha vida sem eu dar por isso, nada ser igual como era dantes, as pessoas, os s tios, a minha pr pria idade, exactamente o que eu necessitava que n o alterasse nunca Como se o norte fosse agora sul e eu rasca, sem b ssola, procura de qualquer coisa que me guie Esta certeza, entende, de que tarde de mais e perdi o caminho de casa, ou, se der com ele, malho com os cornos numa parede, numa esquina, num beco sem sa da Two years ago Lobo Antunes pissed people off by making the unarguable statement that by the time he was 40, about the age the 2001 crowd is now, he had already published Fado Alexandrino, one of the greatest novels of the 20th century, and they had nothing of identical power to show for It s easier to prove 2 and 2 equals 5 than refuting that statement They re not even trying instant success and hyperbolic adulation has curbed their development Miguel, Two years ago Lobo Antunes pissed people off by making the unarguable statement that by the time he was 40, about the age the 2001 crowd is now, he had already published Fado Alexandrino, one of the greatest novels of the 20th century, and they had nothing of identical power to show for It s easier to prove 2 and 2 equals 5 than refuting that statement They re not even trying instant success and hyperbolic adulation has curbed their development Miguel, Over the course of one long, long night five military men who fought in the Portuguese Colonial Wars get blasted and tell their life stories from before the revolution, during the revolution, and after the revolution Each chapter centers on one of the particular characters the lowly foot soldier, the lieutenant colonel who returns from the colonies to find out his wife has died, the communist supporting communications officer, the second lieutenant whose rich wife leaves him for another Over the course of one long, long night five military men who fought in the Portuguese Colonial Wars get blasted and tell their life stories from before the revolution, during the revolution, and after the revolution Each chapter centers on one of the particular characters the lowly foot soldier, the lieutenant colonel who returns from the colonies to find out his wife has died, the communist supporting communications officer, the second lieutenant whose rich wife leaves him for another woman but voices mingle across chapters, and the past and present become nearly indistinguishable, a literary muddle of moments, some humorous, but most pretty emotional and dire And filled with detritus In Antunes s world, everything is a bit broken, dirty, faded, fat, and gross It s as if all of his characters are living in the entropic end times and trying to figure out how to keep themselves together In many ways, this is the prototypical Antunes novel In this new work by the foremost Portuguese novelist, the reunion of five men on the tenth anniversary of their battalion s return from Mozambique, Portugal s Vietnam, ends in a fatal stabbing which ultimately serves as an act of liberation for the corrupt city of Lisbon Newsday As other readers have said, this is NOT an easy book to read due to the stream of consciousness, the characters not being given names described by military rank very slow reading But worth it I thought Five men are having a reunion on the 10th anniversary of their return from Mozambique having served in the Portugese army at the very end of the occupation of Mozambique, returning home just before the overthrow of the Portugese dictatorship It helps to know at least a little of mid 20th Ce As other readers have said, this is NOT an easy book to read due to the stream of consciousness, the characters not being given names described by military rank very slow reading But worth it I thought Five men are having a reunion on the 10th anniversary of their return from Mozambique having served in the Portugese army at the very end of the occupation of Mozambique, returning home just before the overthrow of the Portugese dictatorship It helps to know at least a little of mid 20th Century Portugese history For 500 hundred pages we follow these soldiers and their wives, girlfriends, bosses, oomrades lives for better or worse mostly for worse A fascinating rather beautiful book Not an easy read I found myself struggling to distinguish the characters, locations and times because much of the narrative is stream of consciousness and not everyone is given a name However the language is so evocative, and quite extraordinarily well translated, that I was moved and thrilled with sensations created by a large number of passages throughout the book This is a book I will mark down to read again as I am sure that with re reading the plot and characters will become clearer and Not an easy read I found myself struggling to distinguish the characters, locations and times because much of the narrative is stream of consciousness and not everyone is given a name However the language is so evocative, and quite extraordinarily well translated, that I was moved and thrilled with sensations created by a large number of passages throughout the book This is a book I will mark down to read again as I am sure that with re reading the plot and characters will become clearer and the smells and sounds will remain just as strong


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