Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Natural Order of Things by Antonio Lobo Antunes

The natural choice after reading José Saramago is to read António Lobo Antunes, another leading Portuguese writer with several novels already available in English translations. Reading these two novelists, as well as João de Melo, gives the impression that there is some very exciting fiction coming out of Portugal. The Natural Order of Things is a novel in which the very theme is the coexistence, or simultaneity, of the past and the present, and of the real and the unreal. Antunes’s technical skill in getting this across is alone worth looking at. Among other stylistic feats, he writes amazing sentences in which two scenes, years apart in time, take place at once. He is compared to Nabokov, among others, for the time shifts, the song-like riffs and the very particular repetitions which are also reminiscent of Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things.
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