This book is set in Portugal, during the period in which the country on the Iberian Peninsula suffered the Salazar dictatorship. But the great value of the work is that the author António Lobo Antunes is talking about the abuse of power and the terrible dictatorships in any part of the planet.
To do this, choose a good number of characters, such as representatives of the Portuguese society closest to the dictator. In fact, the link between them is the link with one of his ministers. They are characters that with their memories and anecdotes show us the ins and outs of dictatorial power. With them the author satirizes, caricatures them, makes denunciations and even angers the reader. In some way, the writer is being the inquisitor of that dictatorship and of all those characters, more or less guilty, but in reality he tries to make us readers too, and to judge those facts and these attitudes. Or more importantly, let's reflect on them and look for them in our history or around us.
The theme is of enormous interest, but this is multiplied thanks to the precious style of the author, who here behaves like a true master of words. What comes to be an almost notary's book, a kind of verification of evils, becomes a vibrant prose. Hence perhaps the great triumph of the work, not only in his country, but in many other places in Europe. ThisIt is the best demonstration of the universal vocation of the story, beyond the Portuguese setting. We must not forget that Antunes' work as a whole is the most translated abroad, only surpassed by a genius like José Saramago.
But obviously, Lobo Antunesis a Portuguese author, born in Lisbon in 1942, so he knows perfectly what he narrates, because he has lived it. In fact, he was not always dedicated to the world of letters. Before that he practiced medicine in a Lisbon hospital, and later enlisted as a military doctor in thewar in Angola. The result of all this is his cruel vision of the world and his passion for issues where death, corruption and cruelty are not lacking. In short, an author as intense as interesting that he well deserves to be discovered and enjoyed. Surely after reading a book like this you will want to know more of his works. Well here is a selection of them:
Good afternoon to the things below (2004), Yesterday I did not see you in Babylon (2007), My name is Legion (2009), The archipelago of insomnia (2010), What horses are those that make a shadow in the sea? (2012), On the rivers that go (2014), Commission of tears (2015), It is not midnight who wants (2017) or the last Of the nature of the gods (2019).