Books in Portuguese that Should Be Translated into English

When I decided to create this blog about books, I thought it a good idea to write it in English, although it is not my first language. I don’t regret that choice in the slightest, since it has allowed me to continue practising the language and to interact with fellow readers from all over the world. However, it has also a downside. Sometimes I mention books originally written in Portuguese that are not available in English and, thus, that the majority of you can’t read.

Today’s post will add to this conundrum, seeing that it’s exclusively about books that, to the best of my knowledge, haven’t yet been translated into English but that should have been. Some of these are available in other languages besides Portuguese, such as Spanish and French, though.


Livro by José Luís Peixoto

Set in part in the 1960s, Livro delves into the Portuguese emigration to France through the story of a specific family. José Luís Peixoto used more than words to tell this story, which emphasises how difficult it can be to achieve a better life. A circle drawn around particular words helps to convey an important plot point. ‘Livro’ means ‘book’ in Portuguese, and it is not only the title of this novel, but also the name of a crucial character.


A Desumanização by Valter Hugo Mãe

A Desumanização was the first book that I read by Valter Hugo Mãe. Set in Iceland, it focuses on how difficult it can be for some people to deal with the death of dear ones. It is narrated by Halldora, whose twin sister, Sigridur, died some time before. Although I had some misgivings while reading it, I was utterly impressed by the writing style, particularly the evocative and visual similes and metaphors.


O Meu Irmão by Afonso Reis Cabral

The debut novel of Afonso Reis Cabral tells the story of two brothers, whose relationship is put to the test after the death of their parents. Although one of the brothers has Down syndrome, the book isn’t excessively sentimental. I was particularly surprised at the unexpected events presented in the last third of the book.


Vinte e Zinco by Mia Couto

This novella by the Mozambican author Mia Couto takes place during the last days before the Carnation Revolution in 1974. The main character is the cruel and feared Lourenço, an inspector of the Political Police in the then Portuguese colony of Mozambique. His aunt adopts a different approach to life, though. She mingles with black people and is not afraid of expressing radical opinions for that time.


Do any of these books sound interesting to you? Tell me in the comments!


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