The Land at the End of the World by Antonio Lobo Antunes

Sam Munson with a nice review of The Land at the End of the World, just published in English translation:

The book recounts its narrator’s misadventures as an adolescent and young man in Lisbon’s stifling society, as a bewildered, terrified and furious army medic in the hinterlands of Angola and as a young husband and father, loving but unfaithful.

Indeed, sexual longing, of the tawdry and often unfulfilled variety, forms a central element in the novel: Lobo Antunes structures his book as a series of 23 brief chapters, narrated from the murky present of a long, dull Lisbon night, through which the protagonist examines his own past in a long, broken monologue aimed at seducing a nameless woman he has met in a bar, in whom he feels only a rote, conventional interest.

The book’s diction and style are idiosyncratic in the extreme, for good and ill. The narrator – as perhaps befits a man who lacks any real sense of himself and of his social and historical context – can hardly speak more than a sentence without introducing a simile, even in the case of relatively commonplace objects, even in the book’s opening pages, where the narrator recalls his youthful trips to the Lisbon zoo with his father



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