NABOKV-L post 0021028, Mon, 6 Dec 2010 13:19:41 -0200

[NABOKOV-L] [Sighting] Gonçalo M. Tavares "Bib lioteca"
The cover of "Biblioteca" ("Library"), dated 2004 and published in Brazil only in 2009, informs that the young Portuguese writer Gonçalo M. Tavares has had his works translated and distributed in Spain, India, Italy, Sweden, Hungary, Holland, Belgium, Brazil and Portugal.
I found no indication that his books were translated into English.*

In "Biblioteca," the list of authors whose work inspired him to create a short fantasy-sketch runs to over two-hundred names. Most of them appear in the alphabetical index, under their first name, such as J.D.Salinger, Jean Genet, James Joyce, Hart Crane, Robert Browning, Harold Bloom.
Others, as Apuleio, Aristóteles, Empédocles, Euripedes, Dostoievsky and Nabokov, are just that - singles.
Here is what he constructed about Nabokov:

"A tall animal with a dictionary in his pocket entered a room where three men have been engrossed, for seven hours, in a debate about who was the first, the second and the third man at the table.
A tall animal, with a profile that is incompatible with the multitude, menaces to open his mouth with the same intensity as the threat of wielding a weapon promotes. Nevertheless he only carries his tallness and a dictionary. And the way by which he made his entrance into the room. However, the three men were too weak and the man was so strong."
(my translation).

* The Portuguese writer Gonçalo M. Tavares was born in 1970 in Luanda. He spent his childhood in Aveiro in northern Portugal and nowadays teaches Theory of Science at a university in Lisbon. Tavares has surprised his readers with the variety of books he has published since 2001 and has been awarded an impressive amount of literary prizes in a very short time. In 2005 he won the José Saramago Prize for young writers under 35. In his speech at the award ceremony, Saramago commented: Jerusalém is a great book, and truly deserves a place among the great works of Western literature. Gonçalo M. Tavares has no right to be writing so well at the age of 35. One feels like punching him!
José Saramago stated: "Gonçalo M. Tavares burst onto the Portuguese literary scene armed with an utterly original imagination that broke through all the traditional imaginative boundaries. This, combined with a language entirely his own, mingling bold invention and a mastery of the colloquial, means that it would be no exaggeration to say - with no disrespect to the young Portuguese novelists writing today - that there is very much a before Gonçalo M. Tavares and an after..."
From an impressive list of works published in swift succession which surprise readers by their philosophical mind quizzes, diffidently and ironically told events and broad stylistic variations..." Véronique Rossignol, Livres Hebdo. "In a series which the author calls "O Reino" ("The Kingdom", formerly "Black Books") he has published four novels which - this time in a less playful manner - address the topic of the essence of human existence. Just like Walser's dark notebooks, Gonçalo M. Tavares' Black Books continue to give their version of the world we live in, [...] of individual conscience, and the fragility of a human being in the play of existential forces, and the indifference or alienation of the individual. A máquina de Joseph Walser ("Joseph Walser's Machine"), following Um homem: Klaus Klump ("Klaus Klump: A Man"), is constructed as an attempt at apprehending the essence of humanity, drawing on material with the soul of a frighteningly rational world." Agripina Carriço Vieira, Jornal de Letras. "In Jerusalém Ernst Spengler finds himself alone in the night of the 29th of May. He is about to throw himself out of the window. Suddenly the phone rings. Change of scene: The thirty-year-old Mylia is in her apartment and suffering great pain...Ever since the war ended, Hinnerek Obst can not go out into the street without fear...Theodor Busbeck, doctor, historian and ex-husband of Mylia likewise leaves his apartment at 3 am in the morning..In a clear and objective language, this book tells a strange and disconcerting story. It seems as though a secret force is leading the individual characters to their encounter in this particular night. A world coined by violence, fear, pain and insanity is evoked. The author succeeds in combining an exceedingly attention-grabbing story full of surprising contemplations on human nature with the diverse mechanisms of the exertion of power. Jerusalém has been selected for the Portuguese edition of "1001 books to read before dying - a chronological guide to the most important novels of all times". The novel appears alongside works by Philip Roth and John Banville." ..."This is a powerful little book and the Dalkey Archive should be commended for bringing it to an anglophone audience. Kushshner's smooth translation makes good work of its deadpan humour and the atmosphere of oppression. The rest of the "kingdom" series is forth coming; if Jerusalem is anything to go by, Tavares's standing will soon be global. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT ..."Un Kafka portugais." "In the last novel of four in his "O Reino" series, Aprender a rezar na Era da Técnica ("Learning to Pray in the Age of Technology")...With an abrupt and dry language, the author describes the character and his ideology. The figure of evil, incarnate through Lenz Buchmann, is subject to detailed scrutiny. The shadow of a fascist Buchmann troubles the reader...As with his previous novel, Jerusalém, power relations, illness and death are essential elements in this novel, which keep the reader rapt from beginning to end. In his most recent novel, Matteo perdeu o emprego ("Matteo Lost his Job"), Tavares explores the course of his protagonist's destiny. Matteo answers an advertisement for a job and the woman who interviews him has a peculiar characteristic: she has no arms..." "The greatest gift of the young Portuguese novelist Gonçalo M. Tavares is his ability, as a writer, to reduce the world to fragments and reconstruct it again as if it were his own creation. Each of his books (or set of books) is a kaleidoscope that rearranges reality for us better to observe it, making links explicit and obviating what is superfluous." Alberto Manguel "One day, when the literary history of the early years of this century in Portugal comes to be written, the work of Gonçalo M. Tavares will assume an eminent position. José Mário Silva, Diário de Notícias Do you realize his could become one of the great names in Portuguese literature (if it isn't that already?). Only thirty-four years old, his work is so profoundly disconcerting and innovative that not even such a prediction will turn out too daring." Eduardo Prado Coelho, PÚBLICO
For further information, please also visit the author's blog:

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