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Act of the Damned
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2012
I grabbed this book as soon as I read the blurb: "As the socialist revolution closes in, a once-wealthy Portuguese family is accused of "economic sabotage" and must escape across the border" as it reminded me of an interview I once made when I was a journalist with a member of such a family which had done exactly the same.

I thought it might be a veiled account of this family and the situation in Portugal in the aftermath of the 1974 revolution that ended the dictatorship.

The portenuous title should have put me on alert and it is nothing of the kind.

Its portrayal of Portugal, like its portrayal of the family, is as straightforward as a Jackson Pollock painting.

The book is basically a series of monologues and portraits of various members of a group that makes the Addams family appear normal.

As the narrative thunders on to its ending, it takes detours through rape, incest, theft, mongolism, greed, senility, drugs, alcoholism etc.

If you want a story with rounded characters, a beginning, middle and an end then don't read this. If you like a bumpy ride, you might like it.

Some parts are bleakly amusing but I imagine most readers will find the overall tone too high pitched for comfort.
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on May 9, 2002
This is an excellent example of why A. Lobo Antunes should win the Nobel Prize. The book is built around a once healthy family with a very peculiar group of members. Each one will give you is view of the family in is strange vision of the world. Amazing book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2000
One of the best contemporary portuguese novelists! The reading of this book, or any other of the same author for that matter, is both compelling and envolving! For those who are strangers to portuguese fiction I strongly recommend this book.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 1999
Lobo Antunes is a single writer and shows to the world the fellings and thoughts of Lisbon people. I prefer the man behind the writer. The writer is a cold and professional student of the behavior of the human bean, the man is searching without Know his happiness and forget the Africa war.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2002
The author is a MD shrink And we feel that very well on the way he draws his characters on this book. Very well written. One of the Nobel prize nominees this year, last year and next year. Until he finally wons it.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 1999
Lobo Antunes is a single writer and shows to the world the fellings and thoughts of Lisbon people. I prefer the man behind the writer. The writer is a cold and professional student of the behavior of the human bean, the man is searching without Know his happiness and forget the Africa war.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2007
Ok, so my first impression of this book so far is that Lobo Antunes is one of those novelists who should have been a poet. Similes and metaphors - sometimes brilliant, sometimes very lame - are piled on thick, one after the otther.

But it doesn't make any sense in a first person stream of consciousness narrative by a macho tough guy who declares in the very first line of the novel that he stays away from "p*&^y s*^t nonsese like diaries and poems". On page two the same tough-guy narrator calls the posters, advertisements, and graffiti that "in a week's time would be buried under placards uriging strikes, placards announcing rallies, photographs of generals, ads for rock concerts, swastikas, anti-government slogans and toilet-stall rhymes - a love affair of intertwining alphabet fingers, slowly fading in the autum of time." Another striking simile: "Like dogs on the beach following the trail of an imaginary scent along the water's edge." Later, we read of the "Catacombs of the garage, where cars grazed with their grilled teeth on their own shadows."

I can only conclude one of two things - Nuno, the narrator of the first section, is in fact a poet who is merely posturing a disapproval of poetry or Lobo Antunes cannot resist narrating the story in his own rich voice, even when he should be simulating the illusion that the character is the one narrating. Of course, it must be the latter, because in the other sections narrated by others, Lobo Antunes indulges in the same metaphorically rich language. Lobo Antunes poorly establishes the line between the narrator's voice, character voice, and his own voice - they all merge in the same prose. If it is on purpose, I don't see the point yet, but if it is not on purpose, it is a flaw in Lobo Antunes' craft and he would be well advised to revert to less daring, third person narrative in order to indulge in such extravagant personal poeticizing.
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