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No dia 30 de Março, pelas 18h30, a propósito da edição do romance Nenhum Olhar em versã e-book, José Luís Peixoto conversará sobre esse romance com Maria do Rosário Pedreira, primeira editora desse livro.

Doze anos depois da sua primeira edição. 

 

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publicado às 19:20

"Luz da Intensidade" é o primeiro volume crítico publicado exclusivamente sobre a obra de José Luís Peixoto. 

 

Detendo-se especialmente nos romances "Nenhum Olhar", "Uma Casa na Escuridão" e "Cemitério de Pianos", aborda com profundidade uma grande parte dos temas sugeridos pela obra romanesca de José Luís Peixoto.

 

Luís Carmelo (Évora, 1954) é autor de uma vasta obra literária e ensaística, de onde se destacam dez romances (com destaque para A Falha, adaptado ao cinema por João Mário Grilo em 2002) e quinze livros de ensaio (incluindo o Prémio A.P.E. de 1988) sobre semiótica, teoria da cultura, literatura e o cruzamento multidisciplinar de expressões contemporâneas. 

Doutorado pela Universidade de Utreque (Holanda), o autor é professor na Escola Superior de Design (IADE), membro da Associação Portuguesa de Escritores (A.P.E.) e da Associação Internacional de Semiótica (I.A.S.S.-A.I.S.).

 

 

À venda aqui.

 

 

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publicado às 16:06

Introdución de Antonio Muñoz Molina a la edición italiana de Nadie nos Mira/Nenhum Olhar (Nessuno Sguardo, La Nuova Frontiera, 2001).

 

 

¿A qué país, a qué epoca pertenecen las historias que cuenta y los personajes que retrata José Luis Peixoto? Ese paisaje, esa aldea, parecen ajenos al mundo, tan inaccesibles a los mapas de la realidad como el tiempo en el que las cosas suceden parece alejado del nuestro, incluso de cualquier sucesión histórica. La aldea, que no tiene nombre, carece no ya de contactos con el mundo exterior, sino de vínculos posibles con cualquier espacio que a nosotros nos resulte habitable, incluso verosímil. El tiempo no es el que mide los años numerados y lineales, sino un tiempo circular de estaciones agrarias, de tareas en el campo que no varían nunca, igual que nunca varían las vidas de las personas, ni tampoco las de las generaciones: lo que alguien hace, lo hará para siempre, hasta que la extenuación o la muerte lo aniquilen; lo que hacen los padres lo harán también los hijos, los nietos, los bisnietos, porque el trabajo y el sufrimiento forman parte de una fatalidad, de una maldición como la que al principio del Génesis condena a los hombres a ganarse el pan con el sudor de la frente y a las mujeres a parir con dolor. Los raros toponímicos que definen este lugar ajeno al tiempo y exterior al mundo tienen referencias bíblicas. El demonio acecha en la taberna de Judas como la serpiente espiaba en el paraíso terrenal, con la diferencia de que, en este caso, no hace falta que él actúe para que la maldición se cumpla, porque maldición y desgracia no son circunstancias posibles sino rasgos permanentes de la vida.

 

Y sin embargo, la geografía de este lugar también es muy precisa, y su tiempo puede sernos familiar: incluso puede traernos recuerdos de una época no demasiado lejana a algunos de sus lectores. José Luis Peixoto ha creado un espacio cerrado como el de las leyendas, un tiempo giratorio como el de los cuentos, pero espacio y tiempo, con un poco de atención que se pongan, son tan eficazmente realistas como alucinatorios: este es un mundo por el que circulan gigantes de maleficio y en el que el demonio a dministra los sacramentos en la iglesia y el vino en la taberna, pero también es el mundo rural y la geografía de un país muy concreto, de la parte más pobre y atrasada de un Portugal que se parece mucho al sur y al sudoeste de España: el secano, los rebaños de ovejas sobre la tierra polvorienta, los cereales, los alcornoques, los olivos. Y también, más allá de la geografía, o imponiéndose sobre ella como una marca candente, la injusticia social, el abismo entre los ricos y los pobres, la economía atrasada que condena a los trabajadores a una subsistencia miserable y se basa en la rutina y en el absentismo de los propietarios: la casa de los ricos, en el libro, es un espacio misterioso, sombrío, deshabitado, en el que una voz cuenta historias desde el interior de un baúl, y sin embargo también tiene una existencia literal en tantas casas de señores que viven parásitamente el capital de una tierra que apenas conocen y sobre la que afirman la soberbia de su rango. La casa de los señores podía ser uno de esos cortijos blancos que todavía perduran en el campo andaluz, y esos personajes que forman en el libro una galería de espectros o de monstruos los ha visto y los recuerda uno de su infancia rural, o se le han aparecido en sus pesadillas o en las historias que le contaban sus abuelos.

 

Esa doble naturaleza del texto define también la experiencia de su lectura: todo es muy raro, y al mismo tiempo es muy familiar; las cosas suceden fuera del tiempo, y también en el interior de un pasado histórico, perfectamente identificable; las historias, las personas y los objetos reconociblemente reales tienen un aura fantástica: lo imposible se cuenta con la naturalidad de lo cotidiano. Esa ambigüedad tiene también su reflejo en una escritura que se desliza de un registro a otro sin que nos demos mucha cuenta, de la narración casi de realismo social al rapto visionario, de la voz a la conciencia, del relato minucioso de los trabajos del campo a la tirada casi bíblica sobre los infortunios del ser humano sobre una tierra eternamente ingrata. El lector se ve obligado a un ajuste constante de su manera de leer y de sus expectativas: en un párrafo está reconociendo una imagen de pobreza rural que parece recobrada de su infancia, y al siguiente se verá en la necesidad de descifrar una posible alegoría. La crónica y la fábula se yuxtaponen, igual que las conciencias entre las que salta la narración, a las que poco a poco uno aprende a irles dando identidad y nombre, apoyándose en ellas para reconstruir en su propia imaginación una historia incierta, fragmentada, oblicua, como las historias que cuentan o presencian o callan los personajes de William Faulkner, o los de los cuentos de Juan Rulfo: no es casual que estos dos autores hayan creado también sus mundos narrativos a partir de las vidas de los más pobres, los más pegados a la tierra, los encerrados en formas de conocimiento que deben menos a la racionalidad que a las mitologías más primitivas y tenaces.

 

Nos sofoca este mundo: nos envuelve su fatalidad de una manera tan asfixiante como la que sufren quienes viven en él, como nos envuelven las líneas de esta escritura a la vez descarnada y barroca, o la reiteración cíclica de las desgracias, o el testimonio de un continuo esfuerzo que no da fruto: leo estas páginas y me estremece una sensación muy parecida a la que empecé a tener según iba alcanzando el uso de razón y comprendía, en el ejemplo de mis mayores, que el trabajo en el campo –en un campo pobre y atrasado- es lo que más se parece a una maldición primitiva, a las más antiguas de todas, las que formulaban aquellos profetas judíos también crecidos en tierras de sol ardiente, poca sombra y agua escasa. Lo que ha sucedido una vez va a seguir sucediendo siempre: una prostituta ciega tendrá una hija que será también ciega y prostituta y que transmitirá ese destino a la hija que nazca de ella; la casa de los señores permanecerá vacía e intacta generación tras generación, del mismo modo que los árboles tienen las mismas hojas cada año y la tierra ofrece las mismas cosechas, y los animales engendran crías idénticas a ellos. El mundo acaba de empezar, y sin embargo es más antiguo que la memoria de los más viejos, y lo único que se sabe del porvenir es que en él se repetirán los mismos abusos y desgracias, las mismas derrotas de la inocencia y el vigor.

 

Y como en las historias y en las sociedades primitivas, en el centro de todo está el acto de contar, en el origen del mundo está la palabra, y también en su fin. De todos los personajes que pueblan esta galería de fantasmas, este catálogo de monstruos que se parecen tanto a gente que hemos conocido y de la que nos hablaron cuando éramos niños, los dos más elusivos, y los más inquietantes, son dos: esa voz que cuenta siempre en una casa vacía, en el interior de un baúl; ese hombre que escribe en una habitación sin ventanas, ajeno al mundo y al tiempo, y sin embargo haciéndolos nacer del acto mismo de su escritura, como un dios obsesivo y arrogante, como escribe cualquiera que al dejarse llevar por lo que está haciendo se olvida de la luz del sol y del exterior y es como si viviera y escribiera tapiado; como cuenta quien se apasiona tanto por el acto de contar que seguiría haciéndolo como esa voz de la casa deshabitada, que da noticias de otro mundo que sin embargo es sombríamente el nuestro.

Autoria e outros dados (tags, etc)

publicado às 16:23

A DUPLICAÇÃO DA NARRATIVA E A DUPLICAÇÃO DO SER EM NENHUM OLHAR, DE JOSÉ LUÍS PEIXOTO

 

Por Prfª. Drª Lilian Leopoldo (USP e UPM)

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publicado às 23:34

Blank Gaze (UK title), The Implacable Order of Things (US title), Nenhum Olhar (Pt title) - Review in San Francisco Chronicle, 22nd August 2008

 

By Tatyana Gershkovich.

 

Translation gets a bad rap. At one point or another, every reader has soured on a book in translation after some pompous polyglot declares, "Ah, but you should read the original!" No doubt, much can be lost. But a book's journey around the world also offers an occasion to re-examine and refine its most remarkable attributes, attributes that might have been obscured by an initial choice of words, or - in the case of José Luís Peixoto's splendidly demanding novel - a title.

 

Published originally in Portuguese as "Blank Gaze" (2001), the book is set in an unnamed town in the arid, sun-bleached Alentejo region of Portugal. It's an austere name for an austere place. Peixoto - in Richard Zenith's translation - weaves together stories of the town's inhabitants, some told from their own perspectives and others related by an unknown and detached observer. A shepherd learns of his wife's infidelity and confronts her lover. Conjoined twin brothers marry the town cook and lose each other. A deformed child is born to a blind prostitute and a crippled carpenter, confronting them with the grotesque consequences of their love. The brutality of nature permeates each tale. "The sun shows us our own desperateness," says Old Gabriel, the town's 120-year-old wise man. "For those with understanding, this sun is the hand that caresses us and crushes us."

 

Dialogue is nearly absent from the novel. Peixoto's characters speak in streams of consciousness and only to themselves. They have a deeply rooted distrust of language, perhaps because they can neither read nor write. But what a marvelous chance for the author to display his own linguistic virtuosity! The images Peixoto evokes in helping his characters communicate without words are singular and unforgettable. The cook tells her husband, Moisés, that she's sick of eating the same old thing by preparing "a platter with shapely, wide-open potato legs and an open, steaming vagina made of collard greens which, by a trick of her culinary art, slowly contracted ... until it became a collard-green vagina that was irrevocably closed and dried up."

 

The cook adheres faithfully to the principle "Show, don't tell," but elsewhere, Peixoto occasionally falters. The author is too blunt in conveying his notion that a look succeeds where language fails. The shepherd José realizes he has always been a stranger to his wife, but he is granted one moment of communion with her when they exchange glances: "Wife, I don't know what we were, but I know this day that you are mine. ... Your gaze and your silence are my own." The eye as window to the soul is a well-worn notion, one made less bearable by the allusion to it in the original title. "Blank Gaze" reveals a blemish instead of pointing to the bountiful originality in Peixoto's work.

 

The work will make its American debut under a loftier title: "The Implacable Order of Things." But what the title loses in austerity it gains in purpose, illuminating the novel's deeper theme of co-existence between order and chaos, and revealing the author's immense artistic ambition.

In telling the history of the village, Peixoto examines the forces that govern our lives and creates a hierarchy among them. First, he peels away the least important, the man-made institutions of government and religion. The wealthy landowners who used to oversee the village move away; the villagers forget the names of the saints and lose their religion. The bonds of love and marriage remain a little longer, but they, too, disintegrate after lovers grasp the insurmountable psychic distance between each other.

 

Nature appears to prevail as the governing force, and Peixoto's brilliance and power as an artist are precisely in his desire to mimic nature's ability to create and destroy simultaneously. From the first words of his novel, as the silhouettes of his characters begin to come alive, Peixoto is already in the process of destroying their world. He inverts the landscape - "perhaps we see everything upside down and the earth is a kind of sky" - and then proceeds to let his universe collapse in on itself.

 

This challenging novel is a testament to the artistic ambitious of its author, whose bold experiments with form and arresting imagery have earned the 33-year-old a José Saramago literary award. José Luís Peixoto's work is now available in 12 languages, and it is well worth knowing - even in translation.

Autoria e outros dados (tags, etc)

publicado às 15:41

Blank Gaze (UK title), The Implacable Order of Things (US title), Nenhum Olhar (Pt title) - Review in The Independent, 23rd November 2007

 

 

An unnamed village in the Alentejo region, southern Portugal. Its inhabitants are rural, and poor – some are desperate, some more or less resigned, but all are poor.

 

Among them are the old twins joined at a little finger, identical, with identical gaits and postures, and (though they don't know this) an identical number of white hairs on their heads; and Old Gabriel, who is 120 when the story begins and then proceeds to age several decades further. And then there's the cook who falls in love, and starts making exquisite little figures out of her food. The feuding cousins, and the local priest – more frequently known as "the devil" – who torments them. A master carpenter and the blind prostitute who becomes his bride. There's a voice speaking from inside the old trunk in the big house. And there's a man in a windowless room, writing.

 

In presenting these characters and the vignettes that constitute their lives, novelist José Luís Peixoto pulls off a impressive and unusual feat; he creates characters who are archetypes, and yet simultaneously ones who are drawn in sufficient detail to demand (and earn) the sympathy of his readers.

 

The characters are general – many, the women especially, are denied even a name – but the descriptions of their stories and their sufferings are sometimes dreadfully particular. Just look closely at the lips of that tiny stillborn child... Life may seem a shared, common, endlessly repeated experience, but death is a particular, personal and lonely one.

 

Peixoto does give us weddings as well as funerals, though; there are moments of joyful news, new homes, happy births, unions and reunions, moments showing the unthinking tenderness of lovers, of parents and children. And there are pauses, of something like peace; peace that is hot and dry and grimly poor, but peaceful, at least – and then, out of this seeming stillness, burst other moments that are stark and startlingly brutal. The author gives us agonised death in childbirth, as well as fires, beatings and terrible suicides.

It's these images of grief that are the most vivid – it's death, but given to us as a vivid, lived experience, thanks to some intensely beautiful writing packed with startling and memorable images. (A giant's hand on display in church, anyone?)

 

Sadness and death, and the awful inevitabilities in each character's story, resonate throughout Richard Zenith's well-pitched translation. But the trust required by the author to follow his fragmented and claustrophobic tale is amply repaid; his bold, incantatory prose is consistently beautiful – apparently simple but also incredibly rich and resonant.

Voices are echoed in other voices, and the dialogue pulses along within it all, undifferentiated. The storytelling role passes between an external narrator and first-person characters and back again; the narrator's own wise words are picked up later and repeated by the characters, as though these portentous lines, these profound thoughts, are out there, abstracted from their lives, just humming in the air, like great discovered truths...

 

That even these weighty lines are moving and thought-provoking, rather than (as well might have been) tiresomely over-zealous or pretentious, is further testament to the author's considerable skills.

 

Autoria e outros dados (tags, etc)

publicado às 15:32

Blank Gaze (UK title), The Implacable Order of Things (US title), Nenhum Olhar (Pt title) - Review in The National (United Arab Emirates), 14th November 2008

 

By Hephzibah Anderson.

 

The backdrop to this affecting novel is an unnamed village in Alentejo, Portugal’s scorching, dirt-poor south. I can tell you this mainly because it says so on the accompanying press release. Paradoxically, though the book itself conveys an evocative sense of place, that place might be almost any impoverished, sun-baked village the world over.

Artfully translated by Richard Zenith, the location is specified mostly by the characters’ names – José, Rafael, old Gabriel. Yet in every other detail, the village and the hardscrabble dramas that unfold within its public and private spaces are universal and timeless. Many characters, the women especially, go unnamed. All love and hate, strive and suffer. Babies are born and the dead are mourned. Apprentices must be trained, livestock tended and vegetable patches watered. And, as in any village, there is gossip. José the shepherd learns this the hard way when he weds the woman who cleans the deserted rich people’s house just outside the village.

 

From that moment on, she becomes known as José’s wife, but her other name is not forgotten. A motherless teenager, she watched her beloved father die a painful death, the legacy of a lifetime spent stood over a brick kiln. All alone, she fell prey to a man known as “the giant”, and eventually had to have an abortion. So when neighbours ask after José’s wife, he hears the name they still silently use – “whore” – and is tortured by the images it conjures up.

 

Among those who remember José’s wife as a cheery small girl are the Siamese twins Moisés and Elias. Joined at the tip of their little finger, they share the same wrinkles and have an identical number of white hairs on their heads. When Moisés falls in love with “the cook”, they both move in with her.

The second part of the novel tracks the lot of these characters’ offspring. Will they fare any better than their parents, or will the tug of dynastic fate prove irresistible? Throughout, the narrative flits between the third and first person, observing each character from without before showing us the world through his or her eyes.

 

The story’s universality is underscored by its more fantastical touches. In addition to the giant, there is the local cleric who is dubbed “the devil”, and who knows exactly how to needle his flock. An old man lives to be 150, a woman gives birth in her 70s, and an orphaned child survives solely on baby fat for three years.

Meanwhile, up in the rich people’s house, a chest in the hallway contains a disembodied voice whose gnomic utterances provide a recurring image: what if the earth was inverted, so that the sky was really “a huge sea of fresh water and we, instead of walking under it, walk on top of it; perhaps we see everything upside down.”

 

Peixoto is a recipient of the José Saramago Prize, named after Portugal’s Nobel laureate. The influence of the elder José’s work echoes throughout Blank Gaze, particularly in its blend of realism and fantasy. Yet the novel also keys in to English-language literary trends. Its more whimsical aspects, for instance, chime with the work of Jonathan Safran Foer.

One character who remains shadowy is “the man who writes in a room without windows”. Though he is never glimpsed, the sound of his pages being crumpled can sometimes be heard when babies forget to cry and mothers pause to gather their strength. He adds a note of mischief to a magical, majestic portrait of individuals who see the beauty of life even when its harshness makes it feel like their adversary.

Autoria e outros dados (tags, etc)

publicado às 15:50

Blank Gaze (UK title), The Implacable Order of Things (US title), Nenhum Olhar (Pt title) - Review in The Observer (The Guardian), 2nd November 2008

 

By Mary Fitzgerald.

 

This novel is a collection of loosely linked stories set in an unnamed Portuguese village populated by, among others, the Devil; a malicious giant; a set of Siamese twins joined at the tips of their little fingers; and José the shepherd who, after a run-in with the Devil, is fated to a life of unrelenting pain. Their lives are blighted by poverty and hardship but while their stories are often brutal there are unforgettable moments of tenderness - José's love for his infant son, the marriage of the cook to one of the Siamese twins, and the (relative) domestic bliss into which the three of them settle. Peixoto's writing possesses a rare, rhythmic beauty revisiting notions that might, in the hands of a lesser writer, seem clichéd but here acquire a haunting resonance.

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publicado às 16:19



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