Snippet: Rentes de Carvalho’s “Midas”

José Rentes de Carvalho (Vila Nova de Gaia, 1930), O Meças [Midas], 2016, 184 p.

publisher’s summary (assisted by google translate):

New novel by Rentes de Carvalho. A history of violence in which the progressive definition of memory contours will bring new and painful truths. An unpublished novel, in which the story of Antonio Roque is told,  a man tormented and possessed by the demon of terrible memories. The images of the past that regularly take possession of him, turn him into a monster capable of the worst acts. However, the dark history of the sister and the wealthy man who took advantage of her -who, though dead, continues to fire in him a devastating hatred- is not exactly like he thinks he remembers it. After years of emigration to Germany, the Midas returns to his village of origin. With him live his son (whom he detests) and his daughter-in-law (whom he desires, but for whom he makes life miserable); furthermore, he frightens all those who come across him. A history of violence in which the progressive definition of memory contours will bring new and painful truths. [repetition in the original text; translator’s comment]

António Guerreiro of the newspaper Público calls it “hyperliterature” (from hypermarket?) and enumerates some of the characteristics of this type of literature: Kitsch parts (nice writing but somewhat empty), the exacerbation of style (literary tics), frivolity (false depths), redundancy (“the most abundant quality of this novel”), and erotic deflation (old-fashioned obscenity). The book receives one star out of five…

According to the publisher’s website, the author lived abroad for many years and taught Portuguese literature at the University of Amsterdam, and he has contributed to (literary) magazines in Portugal, Brazil, the Netherlands and Belgium. Some of his books are available in Dutch.

Blogger’s comment: The intention of this blog is to follow not only developments in Spain but also in Portugal, though unfortunately the latter sometimes gets forgotten. On May 5, 2016, the book described here was the only one by a Portuguese author that made the culture pages of the newspapers Diário de Notícias and Público

SOURCE: Quetzal Editores (publisher); Público, May 4, 2016


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