The latest addition to my website is Gonçalo M. Tavares‘ Um Homem: Klaus Klump (O Reino (The Kingdom) series) (A Man: Klaus Klump). This is the first in the Kingdom series, though the last to be made available in English. I found it quite disappointing. It is short, written in staccato sentences and often pithy descriptions. The subject is clear. There is a war and war is very unpleasant, very unpleasant indeed. Virtually all the women in the city seem to get raped and there are many very gruesome incidents. Klump comes from a rich family but joins the resistance but is betrayed by Herthe, who makes her living betraying those in the resistance. He spends seven years in prison, stabs his father in the eye and escape and rejoins the resistance. Herthe marries a commander of the occupying army who is murdered by her brother (with her help) on her wedding day and later marries a very rich man. The war ends and everyone goes back to their normal routines. it is short, sharp and decidedly unpleasant. Yes, the point is made but it is not an enjoyable read.
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I have some questions for you:
Why was it disappointing?
When you say it was not an enjoyable read, what do you mean? Was it not enjoyable because it’s depressing perhaps; or not aesthetically enjoyable, ie, badly written?
It was totally depressing. It was brutally violent – too much for me. It was written in a bitty and fragmentary style, None of this appealed to me personally, though, of course, others may have enjoyed it.
Hey, don’t hold back. I detest the author’s writing. There’s something too journalism and science magazine article about it: short, simple lines; restricted vocabulary; an aridness of figures of speech like metaphors, similes, etc. It’s so bland and blah to me. I just finished reading Robert Coover’s The Public Burning – now that’s a tour de force of linguistic virtuosity.
GMT is said to be the Next Big Thing in Portuguese Literature, but if you want high quality you need to read António Lobo Antunes: sheer mastery of language, amazing metaphors, totally unconventional storytelling, and hilarious dark humour.
Thanks for your comments. I did not enjoy this book but I did enjoy Joseph Walser. I have read Antunes, as you can see on my website and, I must say, I find him hard-going at times though he is clearly a first-class writer. I do enjoy your blog, particuarlyl as there is so little on Portuguese lit in English.