Tuesday, November 18, 2008

António Lobo Antunes: What can I do when everything's on fire?

Jaime Manrique reviews António Lobo Antunes' What can I do when everything's on fire?
From the beginning of his long, distinguished career, António Lobo Antunes has been a pitiless chronicler of Portugal's colonialism in Brazil and in Africa, the repercussions of which are felt to this day. Lobo Antunes served as a military doctor in the Angolan war of independence from Portugal (1961-75), which generated genocidal acts on both sides, and has emerged as the unquestionable historical conscience of the liberation wars fought by the Portuguese colonies in the 1960s. Haunted by Portugal's imperialist past and decades of repression at home, Lobo Antunes's characters are a cast of disaffected, predominantly marginal people whose souls have been corroded by the legacy of their nation's brutal history (another one of his major subjects is the 36-year right-wing dictatorship of António de Oliveira Salazar, which ended in 1968). His latest novel, "What Can I Do When Everything's on Fire?," translated into English with a pitch-perfect ear for colloquial speech by the legendary Gregory Rabassa, is another dissection of Portugal's sick soul.
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1 comment:

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