The best books to guide you through Lisbon, Portugal

by John J. Williams

Susana Moreira Marques’ masterpiece Now and at the Hour of Our Death, a work on life and death in a village in northern Portugal, exemplifies the best contemporary Portuguese writing available in translation. Regarding poetry, ‘Cape Verdean Blues’ by Shauna Barbosa will give you an idea of ​​the multifaceted nature of Cape Verdean culture in the diaspora. “What’s in a Name” by the great Ana Luísa Amaral will make you wonder about everyday life’s details.

The regime instituted by Salazar in 1933 lasted until 1974. “The Three Marias: New Portuguese Letters”, by Maria Isabel Barreno, Maria Velho da Costa, and Maria Teresa Horta, is a bold and whimsical collective work against fascism. When published, it was deemed “pornographic and a threat to public morals” and prompted the government to bring the authors to justice. ‘Empty Wardrobes’, a novel by Maria Judite de Carvalho, gives you an idea of ​​domestic life under the dictatorship: in precise, unsentimental prose, it tells the story of three generations of women overshadowed by the death of a patriarch.

The best books to guide you through Lisbon, Portugal

The Portuguese Empire, which included colonies in the Americas, Asia, and Africa, was also one of the most enduring. His legacy is still alive in Lisbon today.

To see it, head to Cova da Moura, home to a large community of migrants from Cape Verde, Angola, and Guinea-Bissau, among others, and visit Dentu Zona, a bookstore and screen-printing workshop where you can experience a carefully curated selection of books about the colonial past of the city and works by great authors of African descent.

If you want to read more about this topic, there are many books and authors to choose from. ‘South of Nowhere’, one of António Lobo Antunes’ masterpieces, is a tense monologue told by an Angolan war veteran to a lonely woman he meets in a bar. A prose poem addressed to a silent interlocutor and a memoir of the horrors of war witnessed by the author himself; it’s a wonderful book,

Dulce Maria Cardoso’s “The Return” began in Angola in 1975. The Salazar dictatorship collapsed, and the defeat of the Portuguese in the Angolan War of Independence iwasin sight. The narrator, Rui, is 15 years old. He is one of the thousands of settlers returning to Portugal, a place he has never visited. The novel gives you an idea of ​​the contradictions and mythologies that played out during the Carnation Revolution, which led to the end of the dictatorship in 1974.

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