The Neighborhood (Hardcover)
Imagine you could create your own utopian writers' quarter a close-knit community of those you admire or who have influenced you profoundly. For award-winning Portuguese author Goncalo M. Tavares, six favorite "senhores" Misters Calvino, Valery, Juarroz, Kraus, Walser, and Henri haunt the sidewalks, cafes, and back alleys of a fictive Lisbon "bairro."
Readers will appreciate the homages to Italian fabulist Italo Calvino, French poet and critic Paul Valery, Argentinean poet Roberto Juarroz, Swiss modernist Robert Walser, Austrian writer and satirist Karl Kraus, and Belgian neosurrealist Henri Michaux, but Tavares's deceptively simple style appeals on many levels. In this imaginative territory, for instance, diminutive Mister Valery jumps up and down satisfied to be as tall as his fellow men if only for a shorter while. His more egocentric neighbor, Mister Henri, philosophizes about the virtues of absinthe, acknowledging the drink can make equally for a better or worse reality.
Enhancing each story are the drawings of Rachel Caiano, whose minimalist depictions mirror the essence of the personal, logical, and political absurdities that intrigue in these simple yet profound tales.
When we visit Tavares's neighborhood, its building blocks made of books, we are also visiting a version of ourselves. Philip Graham, from the foreword
About the Author
Of novelist Goncalo M. Tavares, professor of epistemology at the University of Lisbon, Nobel laureate Jose Saramago declared, Tavares has no right to be writing so well at the age of thirty-five. One feels like punching him and later said, "Goncalo M. Tavares burst onto the Portuguese literary scene armed with an utterly original imagination that broke through all the traditional imaginative boundaries. I ve predicted that in thirty years time, if not before, he will win the Nobel Prize and I m sure my prediction will come true. My only regret is that I won t be there to give him a congratulatory hug."
Tavares is the winner of numerous international awards, including the Brazilian Premio Portugal Telecom in 2007 for "Jerusalem" and the 2010 Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger for "Apprendre a prier a l ere de la technique (Aprender a Rezar na Era da Tecnica / Learning to Pray in the Age of Technique)."Roopanjali Roy has been a Portuguese translator and interpreter for more than twenty years, translating more than seventeen books of literature and history. Since 2004 she has been a lecturer in Hindi and Indian culture at the Universidade Catiolica in Lisbon.Rachel Caiano is a Portuguese artist and illustrator of fiction, children's literature, book covers, and other publications.Author Philip Graham is professor in the creative writing program at the Universty of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and also teaches in the low-residency MFA program of the Vermont College of Fine Arts."