Good Reads… It’s All We Want

You don’t need to think much. Here are some suggestions for your reading list for the next few months. All Portuguese writers… of course.

José Saramago, “Land of Sin”

He is Portugal’s only Nobel Prize winner in Literature. We could suggest any of his four dozen works – including the one that won him the Nobel, or even the book that we (almost) lived through during the pandemic. But we recommend Land of Sin (“Terra do Pecado”), his first work, written at 24 years old.

Camilo Castelo Branco, “Doomed Love. A Family Memoir”

Doomed Love. A Family Memoir(“Amor de Perdição) is one of the mandatory novels in national literature. Teresa and Simão are the protagonists of this tragic love story, written while the author remained imprisoned in Cadeia da Relação in Porto, after his love affair with the married Ana Plácido had been discovered.

Agustina Bessa-Luís, “Sibila”

Agustina Bessa-Luís launched Sibila in 1954, and many consider that this moment determined the ascent of one of the most important names in the Portuguese literature scene. 2022 would be the year of the writer’s centenary.

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

The Book of Disquiet is one of the most renowned works of one of the most prestigious Portuguese authors. Fernando Pessoa was a poet, philosopher, and key figure in the Portuguese modernism scene. In truth, with the creation of the heteronyms, he was several poets at the same time, as those had distinct personalities, writing from different angles and perspectives. The heteronyms Alberto Caeiro, Álvaro de Campos and Ricardo Reis are the most well-known.

Lídia Jorge, “The Wind Whistling in the Cranes”

She is one of the living authors with the highest reputation in Portugal and with more published works. She won in 2020 the FIL prize for Literature in Romance Languages. We suggest The Wind Whistling in the Cranes (“O Vento Assobiando nas Gruas”).

Luís de Camões, “The Lusiads”

A reason of pride for any Portuguese and a must-read for any reader. The Lusiads (“Os Lusíadas”) is a true odyssey about the adventures of the Portuguese at the time of the Discoveries.

Gonçalo M. Tavares, “Jerusalém”

“A woman, a killer, a doctor, a boy, a prostitute and a madman. And one night”. This is the synopsis of “Jerusalem”, an exhilarating work by Gonçalo M. Tavares, considered by José Saramago “a great book that belongs to great Western literature”. The author’s work is currently translated into 50 countries, and his disruptive narrative style is one of his most admired characteristics.

Maria Isabel Barreno, Maria Teresa Horta and Maria Velho da Costa, “New Portuguese Letters”

New Portuguese Letters (“Novas Cartas Portuguesas”) is a three-hand work by the Portuguese authors: Maria Isabel Barreno, Maria Teresa Horta and Maria Velho da Costa. The role of women in society, the dictatorial regime in Portugal and discrimination are some themes portrayed in the book. The contexts of its publication make the work a case study. Written during the dictatorship period, in Portugal, the book was banned by the censorship and the writers were taken to court. Currently, it is one of the most studied works in Portugal.

Eça de Queiroz, “Cousin Basílio”

It is certainly not the most well-known work in Portugal, but it is one of the most peculiar plots in literature. Cousin Basílio (“O Primo Basílio”) was written in 1878 by Eça de Queiroz and is seen as a novel of contemporary manners, whose plot explores the daily life of the ‘unrefined’ bourgeoisie of the time.

Dulce Maria Cardoso, “The Return”

Dulce Maria Cardoso’s work has been translated into several languages and published in more than twenty countries. The Return (“O Retorno”), one of her most remarkable works, narrates the return of 600 thousand Portuguese to Portugal from Africa, after the 25th of April 1974 Revolution, many of them in dramatic situations.

Sophia de Mello Breyner “The Girl from the Sea and Other Stories”

Sophia de Mello Breyner makes us dream, taking us to the happiest moments of our childhood. The Girl from the Sea and Other Stories (“A Menina e o Mar”) lives in our child consciousness and never abandons us. Sophia de Mello Breyner was one of the greatest Portuguese poets. She received numerous awards, including the Camões Award, in 1999, the Max Jacob Poetry Prize, in 2001, and the Rainha Sofia Ibero-Americana Poetry Prize in 2003.

António Lobo Antunes, “Warning to the crocodiles”

Warning to the crocodiles (“Exortação aos Crocodilos”) by António Lobo Antunes is recounted in the voice of four women, where the main characters are their companions. The action focuses on the actions of an extreme right-wing bombing network operating in Portugal after the 25th of April 1974 revolution. Lobo Antunes is a reference in both Portugal and the world, having received an honorary doctorate in Lima.

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