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Translated by Richard Zenith.


In a village in the Portuguese region of Alentejo, against a background of severe rural poverty, Jose Luis Peixoto weaves a mesmerising tale of men and women hardened by hunger and toil, but prey to jealousy, violence and the overwhelming power of fate.

Jose, a taciturn shepherd, sees his happiness slowly crumble away as 'the Devil' tells him he is being cuckolded. Old Gabriel, aged 120, offers wise counsel, while a different kind of love story develops concerning Siamese twins joined at the tips of their fingers. Unable to live without each other, they find their tender communion shattered when one of them falls in love with the local cook. And, of course, there is the Devil himself.

Peixoto has written a book of haunting beauty. He is a poet, as his exquisite and subtle prose and powerful imagery attest. There are touches of the magical but this is not magic realism. Peixoto deals in archetypes as his characters seem driven by a fate beyond them to fulfil their roles in a never-ending cycle of violence, retribution and death. The village is a unique, richly textured world but it could be a village in any impoverished rural setting. Its characters are universal as are their hopes in the face of hardship. Love may be a luxury but there are moments of the greatest tenderness between even the most unlikely lovers.


Written with subtle prose and powerful imagery, Blank Gaze/The Implacable Order of Things draws us into this unique and richly textured world. It is a novel of haunting beauty and heralds the arrival of an astoundingly gifted and poetic writer.



Published by Bloomsbury (Uk hardcover and paperback) and Doubleday/Random House (US hardcover), Anchor/Random House (US paperback).


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Also available in e-book.

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