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Paul Ellis
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 09:18 am:   

Who are the best Portuguese writers right now, in or out of genre? And are they available in translation?
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Luís
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 12:31 pm:   

Hi Paul,

Saramago is a good writer, although I hear some of his post-Nobel work is a bit iffy compared with the rest. You'll find most (if not all) of his work translated into English.

João Barreiros and Luís Filipe Silva are, in my opinion, the best Portuguese sf authors out there. Some of their stories have appeared in Fantastic Metropolis and Infinity Plus, you might care to check them. "The Test" by Barreiros and "Still Memories" by Silva will be reprinted in the upcoming BREAKING WINDOWS anthology, by the way. The rest of their work remains, alas, untranslated.

No one else leaps to mind. No one remarkable, that is. Maybe Jorge Candeias can help me with more names . . .

Cheers,
Luís
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Jorge
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 01:15 pm:   

Did anyone call me? :-)

Well, Paul, there are some interesting writers in Portugal right now, but I very much doubt they are translated to english.

The genre is pretty much covered by Luís. Luís Filipe Silva and João Barreiros wrap up just about it all, possibly adding Daniel Tércio to the duo, although there are a few newer writers doing interesting things. The two main problems are: João and Luís write far less than they should, and the new ones still need to do some progression before they reach the level of those two.

Outside the genre, there's Saramago (before the Nobel, please!), there's Lídia Jorge writing huge novels of high quality poetic prose, there's José Luís Peixoto, a new writer also writing extremely well and there are a few more, but I have almost no information to give about translations. I know that Saramago has almost all his books translated by now, I've heard rumors that on occasion he has pretty poor translations, but I know absolutely nothing about the others.
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Brendan
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 01:40 pm:   

What about Mário de Sá-Carneiro? Or is he too old? What a cool writer though!

Brendan
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Luís
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 01:48 pm:   

Mário de Sá Carneiro died in the 1910s. He's a great poet, I agree.

Best,
Luís
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Jorge
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 02:16 pm:   

As Luís said, Mário de Sá-Carneiro is too old. That actuallty reflects something relevant for this discussion: usually there's a lag between the original work and the translation, that might be smaller or bigger but is usually, in not-so-large literatures such as the portuguese, quite big.

As an example, I have little doubt that José Luís Peixoto will end up translated into english. But I'm almost certain that it's still too soon.

You find translated people who has been working for some time. By searching in Amazon for Lídia Jorge (without diacritics - amazon doesn't like diacritics), you'll find two of her earlier books, but not the latest, by far the best; José Cardoso Pires has 8 hits, 1 in english; Antonio Lobo Antunes, another major voice (although I don't like his writing), has 20 hits; Mário de Carvalho, an interesting writer that sometimes writes good fantasy, has 11 hits but only one in english (A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening), etc. But you don't find José Luís Peixoto...

Something that isn't translated but should be: Terrarium, by João Barreiros and Luís Filipe Silva, an exotic, complex SF novel, highly self-referencial within the genre, with the unheard of thickness (in our tradition of slim books) of 600 pages.

Editors, pay attention! ;)
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Rhys
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 06:30 am:   

I hope to publish a João Barreiros piece in an anthology and I'm looking forward to doing that!
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Reader
Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 11:29 am:   

Lobo Antunes is one of the top Portuguese writers, and candidate to a future Nobel.
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Rhys
Posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:48 am:   

I've finally managed to get hold (in translation) of Fernando Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet, which I'm very much looking forward to reading.
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Luis
Posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 08:13 pm:   

My god, someone actually posted in here.

Yes, Lobo Antunes is generally well-regarded here in Portugal. He is one hell of a stylist, but I'm not particularly taken by his books, so I don't follow him that closely.

Rhys: enjoy the Pessoa, he's one of my favourite poets ever. I always say it's well worth learning Portuguese just to sample his stuff in the original. (And as a bonus, you'd be able to read other fine Portuguese poets like Vitorino Nemésio, Alexandre O'Neill, Jorge de Sena, António Gedeão (who also wrote what you could call sf poetry, though you'll never hear it from the mouth of a "serious critic"), etc., etc.)

Cheers,
Luís
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rochelle cashdan
Posted on Sunday, December 05, 2004 - 05:46 pm:   

Mia Couto of Mozambique writes in Portuguese. I didn't like his novel Everyman is a Race but his short stories, which are collected but I don't remember the name of the volume, are fabulous. Magic realism at its best. Both books are available in English translation. -- Saludos from Rochelle
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Rhys
Posted on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 03:29 am:   

Yes, I also like Mia Couto. I particularly remember the short story about a man who starts digging a grave for his wife while she is still alive -- to save time. Can't remember the title though!

Luis: are you going to have the 'Year's Best List' feature at FANTASTIC METROPOLIS this year? Just wondering!

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