Top critical review
5 people found this helpful
on June 1, 2014
Fernando Pessoa was a native of Lisbon who after adulthood rarely left the city. He educated himself at the National Library where he read everything to compliment the traditional English education he'd received as a boy. His first creative prose "The Book of Disquiet" came out in 1913 and his first poems in 1914. Much like Joseph Conrad and Jorge Borges, he was completely devoted to literature and was a leader of Portugal's Modernest movement as well as several others he invented himself. Personally he stood out of the limelight and published most of his work in magazines, leaving the bulk of his work in a trunk consisting of notebooks.
Pessoa kept adding to "The Book of Disquiet" writing in voices with dozens of names, creating personas he called "Heteronyms,' one of them the title of a book by Jose Saramago, "The Life and Death of Ricardo Reis."
Pessoa continued work on "The Book of Disquiet" all his life, but it remained fragmented, a non-book that is basically a manual for dreamers to develop their imaginations to escape the hopelessness of man's life in the universe. Richard Zenith's new complete translation has taken Pessoa's scattered writings and painstakingly tried to arrange them into a narrative that some critics have compared to "Ulysses," The Trial" or "In Search of Lost Time."
All that said, this reader found it contained a treasure of philosophy that though profound is repetetive and needed more focus. Despite many narrators, there is no cohesive point of view or story line as there are in the above named modernest classics.