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Tabucchi’s masterpiece “conjures a state between waking and dreaming” (The New York Times)
Dr. Pereira is an aging, lonely, overweight journalist who has failed to notice the menacing cloud of fascism over Salazarist Lisbon. One day he meets Montiero Rossi, an aspiring young writer whose anti-fascist fervor is as strong as Pereira’s apolitical languor. Eventually, breaking out of the shell of his own inhibitions, Pereira reluctantly rises to heroism―and this arc is “one of the most intriguing and appealing character studies in recent European fiction” (Kirkus).
nineteenth-century French stories, and more than that I cannot do. I understand, replied Senhora Delgado, but surely there’s nothing one can’t do if one cares enough. Pereira looked out of the window and sighed. They were nearing Vila Franca, already within sight of the long snaking course of the Tagus. How beautiful it was, this little land of Portugal, blest by the sea and its gentle seaborne climate, but it was all so difficult, thought Pereira. Senhora Delgado, he said, we shall soon be
new ruling ego. Oh come now, Dr Cardoso, said Pereira, this is a nineteenth-century story, it’s ancient history. That’s true, said Dr Cardoso, but none the less it’s an anti-German story, and Germany is above criticism in a country like ours today, have you seen the salute they’ve made compulsory at official functions, they make the stiff-armed salute like the Nazis. That may be so, said Pereira, but the Lisboa is an independent newspaper. Then he asked: Please can I get out now? Another ten
far as Barreiro, then I took a ferry, and from Cais de Sodré I’ve slogged it on foot because I didn’t have the money for the fare. Does anyone know you’re here?, asked Pereira. No one at all, replied Monteiro Rossi, not even Marta, in fact I want to get in touch with her, I want at least Marta to know I’m in a safe place, because you won’t turn me out, will you Dr Pereira? You can stay as long as you like, replied Pereira, or at least until mid-September when Piedade gets back, Piedade is the
asleep on their feet, what with all the criminals there are around, people like your guest here who’ve lost their sense of patriotism, but tell me, Dr Pereira, what made you get yourself into this mess? I haven’t got myself into any mess, retorted Pereira, I simply engaged an assistant for the Lisboa. Of course, Dr Pereira, of course, said the weedy runt, but you really ought to have made enquiries beforehand, you should’ve consulted the police or your boss and given them the particulars of your
at the table, ordered another lemonade and drank it in small sips as he watched the young pair dancing slowly cheek to cheek. Pereira maintains that it made him think once again of his own past life, of the children he had never had, but on this subject he has no wish to make further statements. When the dance ended the young people took their places at the table and Marta said rather casually: You know, I bought the Lisboa today, it’s a pity it doesn’t mention the carter the police have murdered