‘O Círculo Virtuoso’ by Maria Isabel Barreno

My rating: 3 stars

A collection of five short stories, O Círculo Virtuoso by Maria Isabel Barreno isn’t particularly memorable. The characters and storylines won’t be vivid in my mind for very long. Although it features a couple of auspicious moments, they leave an impression of unfulfilled potential, as they promise a type of narrative that is ultimately not achieved.

The first story in the collection, ‘O Diamante Roubado’, at first appears to be a crime mystery, but in fact it’s mostly about how writers will have to deal with failure sooner or later, which left me disappointed. Helena is one of those authors who sometimes struggles to write. Once, however, a story seems to come into her mind fully formed in a moment of glorious inspiration. The heroine of her story, which is part of the one we are reading, has the same name as her. In the story being written, Helena’s husband died close after the disappearance of a diamond from their house. The police are investigating.

Though ‘A Descida aos Infernos’, the following tale, features one of the same characters as the first, it doesn’t provide any answers. It is certainly philosophical, but not noteworthy. A speleologist encounters a man called Veloso in a cave. He is searching for Helena. Continue reading


Books I Want to Read Until the End of 2021

There are only three full months left in 2021, and I’m falling behind in my reading challenge. In order to complete it, I will have to finish the eight books that I’m truly eager to read until the year is over. The list features both novels, short story collections and poetry. Some authors are new to me, while others are old acquaintances. Some books are massive, others are tiny. In terms of genres, they are as diverse.


The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

I’ve only recently started reading The Luminaries and don’t have a strong opinion about it yet. As I don’t think I’ll DNF it, though, it is one of the books I want to finish until the end of the year. Set in 1866, it follows Walter Moody as he arrives in New Zealand to try his luck at the goldfields and to search for his father, who disappeared from Scotland. At the Crown Hotel, he encounters a group of twelve people who are discussing a series of crimes.


Não Se Pode Morar nos Olhos de um Gato by Ana Margarida de Carvalho

Set at the end of the 19th century, this novel by the Portuguese author Ana Margarida de Carvalho has been on my wish list for years. The time has come to finally read it. After the abolition of slavery, a boat illegally carrying slaves sinks near the coast of Brazil, but a group of people manages to survive. They are the main focus of this book, which seems to be most of all a character study. Continue reading