This will very probably be my last book review posted here. And it's a rather perfect choice, one which reminds me how beautiful literature can be.
The book of disquiet is quite simply one of the most beautiful things I've ever read.
There's no narrative to speak of, no plot, only a man giving his thoughts on the world and the human condition. It feels like a diary, and many of the chapters do, indeed, have dates, but most don't and even the ones that do aren't chronologically ordered, but rather placed, haphazardly, in any order. You might read several entries from 1932 only to find, many chapters later, that you're reading his thoughts from 1916. Not that it matters, the whole book could be read in any order, in any way, starting at the middle and moving backwards, or picking any random chapter you wanted. It makes no difference at all.
Pessoa writes using the heteronym 'Bernardo Soares', and tells us very little about himself other than where he works, his boss, the errand boy, with a few occasional references to the streets and the weather. More than anything, he concerns himself with the nature of existence, the tedium of life, the mystery of being alive. He writes beautifully, almost poetically, and is always accompanied by a sense of melancholy and, perhaps, even despair. The book reminded me of 'Journey to the end of the night' by Celine in its low opinion of humanity. Yet he also sees the beauty in life, and adores nature and and art. He ponders the meaning of things and the emptiness too. It's exquisite.
I wouldn't recommend this book lightly. If you're someone who prefers a narrative, then this might not be your cup of tea. But if, like me, you enjoy books where opinions are given, ideas explored, and thoughts are allowed to spiral into the darkness, then this is a glorious example of that.
The book was published long after he died which, given that he spends a moment towards the end of the book contemplating being rediscovered as a writer by later generations, fills me with joy.
The book is an exhaustive list of wonderfully quotable thoughts such as...
There is so much sadness in the character. And you can just picture him, gazing from his window at night, seeking out a small piece of light.
Wisdom! to leave his wife, to leave his babes,
His mansion and his titles in a place
From whence himself does fly? He loves us not;
He wants the natural touch: for the poor wren,
The most diminutive of birds, will fight,
Her young ones in her nest, against the owl.
All is the fear and nothing is the love;
As little is the wisdom, where the flight
So runs against all reason.
Shakespeare, Macbeth IV/ii
Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on - on - and out of sight.
Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away ... O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.
Siegfried Sassoon - 'Everyone Sang'
I'm trying to find the title of a book I read a long time ago. I can roughly remember the plot but I can't find it anywhere.
The story focuses around a female who experiences headaches / strange dreams which are linked to her sister who has died.
She attends a specialist clinic who help track her brain. It is on the edge of afterlife and the female is abducted by a religious sect trying to prove the existence of an afterlife. I vaguely remember that the head of the rogue sect is the Red Pope I think 🤔
Please help me. I loved this story and would like read it again but can't remember the title or author to purchase