Uhm...Ich fühle mich zweischneidig lol
Disgrace it's just too terribly depressing. Phrases that come to mind after having finished the book: "tremendously suffocating", "feeling of emptiness deep down inside", and on and on.
It's gives such an horrific view of human existence that I've finished it feeling as if someone had just punched me in the gut. Intentional (or not...)? Gonçalo, what were you thinking...?
I'm a man of two minds about his book... It didn't fully work for me but the parts that did. Oh my!
Let's put the jarring effects aside:
1 - The effectiveness of the philosophical pondering misses the mark due to the fact that the book is too focused on the thoughts and actions of the "abnormal man" and not on the "normal man" and therefore the applicability of the novel’s themes lacks some necessary universality of themes;
2 - The characters are extreme caricatures and not one of them mirrors the common modern man (aka normal or abnormal);
3 - It gives a very distant and cold perspective that makes it difficult to relate to.
1 - The writing is superb;
2 - Gonçalo is funny, intelligent and mind-numbing original. Enough said.
It was my first Gonçalo's book and it won't be the last. I'm curious to read this book in a language other than Portuguese. His prose poses some conundrums that I would like to see how they're dealt with in another language.
I think Gonçalo is the equivalent to reading crack cocaine and I'm damn well addicted. Fortunately I'm Portuguese and I can read all of them in the original... lol
NB: Along with this book, a friend of mine also recommended another one: "O homem ou é tonto ou é mulher", which means something like this: "Man is either a fool or a Woman". How much better can one get, ah?