Tavares's herky-jerky style leaves a reader with sympathy for the characters—who wouldn't be mad if life moved in such a way? Taking place during one night in an unnamed city, the story—which follows a doctor, his ex-wife, her lover, their son and a killer pimp, among others—propels itself mainly through flashbacks relayed in short, choppy chapters and subchapters. Mylia, the ex-wife for whom everything was about herself, goes tumbling through the streets looking for a church, but instead finds a series of odd and dangerous predicaments. Most of what we learn about Mylia comes from memories of her stay at the Georg Rosenberg Asylum, disturbing, even for healthy people or a luxury hotel for the mentally ill, depending on whom you ask. Her ex-husband, famed researcher Theodor Busbeck, is revealed via his institution and reactions to Mylia; theirs is a frightening if realistic relationship, though the other characters feel less than realized. In what amounts to a long night's chase, Tavares hints at what could be a grander story, but this does not lead to the Promised Land. (Oct.)
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"Jerusalem 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
"His writing is surreal, fun, poetic, profound, dramatic, a discourse of shock, a small bomb that pushes past the usual boundaries, the standard patterns." --Giulia Lancini
"One day, when the literary history of . . . Portugal comes to be written, the work of Gonçalo M. Tavares will assume an eminent position." --José Mário Silva, Diário de Notícias