The Splendor of Portugal's four narrators are members of a once well-to-do family whose plantation was lost in the Angolan War of Independence; the matriarch of this unhappiest of clans and her three adult children speak in a nightmarish, remorseless gush to give us the details of their grotesque family life. Like a character out of Faulkner's decayed south, the mother clings to the hope that her children will come back, save her from destitution, and restore the family's imagined former glory. The children, for their part, haven't seen each other in years, and in their isolation are tormented by feverish memories of Angola. The vitriol and self-hatred of the characters know no bounds, for they are at once victims and culprits, guilty of atrocities committed in the name of colonialism as well as the cruel humiliations and betrayals of their own kin. Antunes again proves that he is the foremost stylist of his generation, a fearless investigator into the worst excesses of the human animal.
Dr. António Lobo Antunes, born in 1942 in Lisbon,
decided to be a writer at age 7; he’s also been a soldier, military
physician, and psychiatrist, and served in Angola during the Portuguese
Colonial War. In addition to his various literary prizes—including
the 2000 Austrian State Prize and the 2005 Jerusalem Prize—Dr. Lobo
Antunes is also a Commandeur de l’Order des Arts et des Lettres in
France and a Knight of the Grand Cross in the Order of St. James of the
Sword in Portugal.
Rhett McNeilis a translator and scholar from Texas. He has translated works by Machado de Assis, A.G. Porta, António Lobo Antunes, Gonçalo M.
Tavares, and João Almino.
A. G. Porta was born in Barcelona in 1954. He gained prominence in the Spanish literary world when he won the Ambito Literario de Narrativa Prize in 1984 for a novel written with Roberto Bolano. After a silence of over ten years-which Bolano claimed that Porta spent reading and rereading Joyce-he began publishing novels to widespread critical acclaim.
"This novel is one of Antunes’s best." — Three Percent, University of Rochester