Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pessoa in the NYT

A few weeks ago I started reading a remarkable book, "The Book of Disquiet" by a Portugese writer, Fernando Pessoa. It's a collection of very short pieces -- almost like journal entries -- written from a fictionalized point of view. The perspective is almost zen-like (in fact, I bought a copy of the book for a friend who practices Zen meditation) in the narrator's quality of observation and his perception of nothingness at the core of existence. But it's not correct to speak of the book's "narrator," since the author's intent was not to write a novel or even a fictionalized diary, but to filter his own perceptions through layers of personas.

Today in the New York Times there's an article about Pessoa, whom I had never heard of before a month ago. In fact, I can't remember how I heard of this book. But it's really, really great. I was happy to see that its star shot in the NYT today resulted in a big spike in sales on Amazon.com, where it's number 4016 at this moment.


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