It's a challenging world

One of the drawbacks of being out for such a long time is that when you finally come back everything has changed so much. Take for instance the myriad of challenges that are being hosted at the moment:

Want more? YES, PLEASE!

Not all of them are over yet but some are, so I'm feeling pretty miserable. However, I'll secretly ( who said I can keep secrets) join them even though it might take me a while to catch up. Yet it is always inspiring reading about what the world is reading.

No more craving

That's right. No more craving for Firmin. I've got it! I bought it this morning so Rilke will have to wait just for a little while. I've been waiting for so long and it's been torture having to watch this beautiful video made by Seix Barral (that's the Spanish publishing house) . But now I'm off to read. See you later.

The novel is set in Portugal during a grim period of our world's history. World War II is about to break and a handful of names that history won't forget is getting all the attention: Hitler, Mussolini, Franco and Salazar in Portugal.

Pereira is a journalist in charge of the cultural section of a rather modest newspaper. His days revolve around his physical ailments, his meals, his little talks to his dead wife's portrait, his love for French literature and his recent obsession with death. Eventually, he needs to hire someone to be in charge of the obituary section and that's how he meets the young idealist Monteiro Rossi. The story that ensues from that meeting is the heart of this novel.

However, there is so much more. Not only are we asked to witness a dramatic story, but also to experience this journalist awakening to the reality he's been trying so hard to ignore. Ultimately, there is also a need to think about the role of intellectuals, literature and the media in dark times when politics, religion, history and believes are being challenged.

I was wondering about the reason of the"declares" in the title (which is also present throughout the novel), about the tone resembling a police interrogation and I came to realize that without it the novel would have lost much of its power. The menacing atmosphere would have been more difficult to grasp. I believe that here, in these two simple words Pereira declares lies the whole soul of the novel.

All in all, I found it absolutely brilliant, not just because of the story or the way it is written, but also because it has something that all readers love: a wealth of knowledge that can only open doors. Think of it: it mentions Pessoa, Maupassant, GarcĂ­a Lorca, Mann, Rilke, Balzac, Daudet, T.S. Eliot. Aren't you just as curious as me?

Antonio Tabucchi is an Italian writer.

There is also a

By the way, I read the Spanish version Sostiene Pereira.

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