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 should have. 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 ‘60s, Livro delves into the Portuguese emigration to France through the story of a specific family. José Luís Peixoto uses 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. Continue reading

‘A Desumanização’ by Valter Hugo Mãe

My rating: 4 stars

Portuguese author Valter Hugo Mãe reflects on the effects that the death of dear ones has on people in his novel A Desumanização (unfortunately I couldn’t find an English translation of the book). Through a poetic writing style, we travel to the Icelandic fjords where we meet Halldora, a girl whose twin sister (Sigridur) has died.

The book is narrated by Halldora. She tells in the first person how she felt about her sister’s death, and how difficult it was for her to cope and to feel like she had to be two persons at the same time. Everything is told from her point of view. There are no real dialogues, only the narrator expressing her feelings and memories, telling what other people had said and conveying what she had discovered about past events.

Her relationship with her parents is a complex one. Her mother seems to be in a state of deep pain. She is aggressive towards Halldora, since she believes she shouldn’t be alive whereas her sister was death. On the other hand, her father, a poem writer, is close to her and more loving. Continue reading