Antunes, António Lobo

Antunes, António Lobo, 1942–, Portuguese novelist. Trained as a physician, he was a field hospital doctor in Angola in the 1960s and later worked in a children's cancer hospital; both experiences shaped his work. He was a practicing psychiatrist until the late 1980s. His first two novels were published in 1979. Widely considered Portugal's greatest living novelist, he has tended to be overshadowed by José Saramago in the international literary world, though in Portugal each has enthusiastic partisans. Writing of the Salazar regime's brutality, the horrors of the Angolan war, the corruption of Portuguese society, and the diminished state of Portugal compared with its once-great empire, Antunes has been called Portugal's national conscience, and is frequently compared to Faulkner, Joyce, and Conrad. His prose is dense; his works are lengthy and wildly imaginative, bulging with details and strange or macabre fantasy. They often employ multiple points of view and a counterpoint of overlapping monologues, e.g., the soldiers of Fado Alexandrino (1983, tr. 1990) and the demimonde inhabitants of Que farei quando tudo arde? (2001, tr. What Can I Do When Everything's on Fire?, 2008). Among his other novels in English translation are the fictionalized memoir Cus de Judas (1979, tr. South of Nowhere, 1983, and The Land at the End of the World, 2011), Conhecimento do inferno (1980, tr. Knowledge of Hell, 2008), Naus (1988, tr. Return of the Caravels, 2002), and Manual dos inquisadores, (1996, tr. The Inquisitor's Manual, 2003). His essays and stories include those in Livro de crónicos (1999, tr. The Fat Man and Infinity, 2009).

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