The Fat Man and Infinity: And Other Writings

The Fat Man and Infinity: And Other Writings

by Antonio Lobo Antunes
     
 

A lyrical, searing work of autobiography, reflection, and fiction, evoking García Márquez's memoirs and Pamuk's Istanbul.
António Lobo Antunes's sole ambition from the age of seven was to be a writer. Here, in The Fat Man and Infinity, "the heir to Conrad and Faulkner" (George Steiner) reflects on the fractured paradise of his

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Overview

A lyrical, searing work of autobiography, reflection, and fiction, evoking García Márquez's memoirs and Pamuk's Istanbul.
António Lobo Antunes's sole ambition from the age of seven was to be a writer. Here, in The Fat Man and Infinity, "the heir to Conrad and Faulkner" (George Steiner) reflects on the fractured paradise of his childhood—the world of prim, hypocritical, class-riven Lisbon in midcentury. His Proust-like memoirs, written over thirty years in chronicle form, pass through the filter of an adult who has known war and pain, and bear witness to the people whom he loved and who have gone into the dark. Stunningly translated by Margaret Jull Costa, in prose that glides like poetry, this is a modern-day chronicle of Portugal's imperfect past and arresting present, seen through the eyes of a master fiction writer, one on a short list to win a Nobel Prize. Readers particularly touched by Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes will be drawn to this journey into the heart of one of our greatest living writers.

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Editorial Reviews

Billy Collins
“The personal essays and reminiscences of António Lobo Antunes, happily gathered here, provide not only glimpses into Portuguese life but also passages that lead to the heart of experience itself. His descriptive quickness and his genius for metaphor cause the line between prose and poetry to vanish before our astonished eyes.”
J M Coetzee
“Lobo Antunes’ sketches are alive with the poetry of the everyday, and tinged with the gentlest of self-mockery.”
Library Journal

Antunes, winner of the 2008 FIL Prize for Literature in the Romance Languages, is a well-known Portuguese writer with over 16 novels under his belt, including What Can I Do When Everything's on Fire? and The Natural Order of Things. This collection of autobiographical and fictional essays that Antunes has published over 30 years will appeal to readers of his historically dense style. In these one- to four-page columns (or crA�nicas), the author sheds a reflective light over his experiences as a youth in midcentury Lisbon and his transition to an adult writer. Skillfully translated by Costa, Antunes's prose-filled taste of Portugal is recommended for academic and public libraries.
—Erin Dorney

Kirkus Reviews
Lively, wholly enjoyable memoir by prolific Portuguese novelist Antunes (What Can I Do When Everything's on Fire?, 2008, etc.). The author confesses to having an ideal reader in his grandmother, who, for complicated reasons, thought he was destined for a priestly, even archiepiscopal career and opened the money box whenever he produced an appropriately religious sonnet. But Antunes's ambitions and interests would turn worldly. Early on, he confesses, he "would have preferred my identity card to bear a name like the Cisco Kid or Hopalong Cassidy," Wild West figures that would in turn give way to other heroes. It would take him years to sort out what writers were and how they were supposed to act. In one irony-laden episode, he confesses his one-time belief that writers wore linen suits and ate ice-cream cones daily, whereupon he "started eating five bread rolls with cherry jam for breakfast every morning in the hope of growing a belly" and thus entered that sacred order. With brothers, a rascally uncle, pro goalkeepers and teachers alternately steering him straight, inspiring him and setting him to mischief, Antunes describes a sentimental education on the streets of Lisbon and a loss of innocence, on many levels, in faraway Angola, where he did service in the medical corps during the last days of the Salazar dictatorship and the Estado Novo. Antunes writes with a pleasing blend of realism and magic, similar to the Fellini of Amarcord and the Neruda of Confieso Que He Vivido. An exemplary work of writerly autobiography.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393061987
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
02/16/2009
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
1,509,628
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

António Lobo Antunes, born in 1942, is the author of novels including What Can I Do When Everything’s On Fire? and Act of the Damned. He lives in Lisbon, Portugal.

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