Fado Alexandrino

by Ant贸nio Lobo Antunes

Paper Book, 1990





New York, N.Y. : Grove Weidenfeld, 1990.


On the tenth anniversary of the return of their battalion from Mozambique, five men attempt to rekindle the fraternal bond that helped them survive the colonial war that was Portugal's Vietnam. In turn, they tell the stories of their lives before, during, and after the revolution that overthrew the long-lived Salazar dictatorship.

User reviews

LibraryThing member deebee1
A complex and demanding book, Antunes dissects his characters through their personal histories interwoven with their thought processes in a narrative sequence of events over a period of one night. Five ex-soldiers who fought in the war in Mozambique in the 1970s meet again 10 years after in their native Lisbon. They spend the night in the company of prostitutes, and reflect on their experiences during the war, and their individual lives upon their return. Revelations unfold, confessions are made, and they realize they are more connected to each other than they realized. More, they realize that in his own sometimes brutal way, each never was able to return fully again to the self and to the Lisbon they knew before the war, before the revolution, before the heady tumultuous early days after the dictatorship.

Lobo Antunes is the psychiatrist that he is -- in stream-of-consciousness writing, he brings us inside the characters' minds, even into places we don't want to go into. He is unrelenting that way, intending i think to shock our senses, he guides us to the dark labyrinthian back streets of Lisbon where transvestites and seedy characters abound, provoking us to taste and smell the city in the dark before dawn. It's a claustrophobic novel, but here one can see his genius. He writes with such vivid imagery in a way that weakens the knees. He writes on many levels, and one interpretation is that the dissolution of the selves is comparable to the corruption and the decay of Lisbon in this period.

A dazzling psychological novel as well as a chronology of events in Lisbon society during and after the 1975 revolution.

Lobo Antune is big in Portugal in a different way that Saramago is. The latter is like a wise old storyteller, whose parables take us to worlds we haven't imagined before. Lobo Antunes is the opposite, he takes us deep into the dark worlds inside ourselves we never dared explore before.

This book is not for everybody, it is dark, it is shocking at times in it's imagery and it's very long. And if one thinks Saramago is complicated to read with his one-page sentences and omission of punctuation marks, I have to warn that Lobo Antunes employs these techniques even more liberally.

This is my first Lobo Antunes, and it has immediately put him in my short list of best authors, and this book, one of the best i've ever read. Five stars. Need I say more?
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LibraryThing member lriley
Some things don't lend themselves to being easily described and Lobo Antunes novels fit right into that kind of categorization. There are things however you can depend on from his work--from novel to novel--among which you can depend on some biting satire particularly in respect to his native Portugal and its citizens who in Antonio's writing compete with each other almost non stop in a game of who can destroy his neighbor who is almost always more pathetic in one way or another than his pathetic antagonist. Antunes Portugal moreover is almost as destroyed in a psychological sense after years and years of the fascist Salazar dictatorship as Hitler's post war Germany was destroyed in a real sense by the allied bombing. Underneath though there is always a story underlying everything and in this one 5 veterans of Portugals colonial wars sit around a table getting drunk and regaling each other with their adventures fighting in Mozambique. Afterwards they hook up with some prostitutes and in drunkenly re-enacting some of the combat they had seen one of them goes a little too far and murders one of the prostitutes. From there it is a scramble for each to extricate himself out of a situation he is not mentally, psychologically or even matrimonially able to handle. It's a hilarious book in a very grim and blackly sarcastic way. Lobo Antunes is in my humble opinion an amazing writer and well worth checking out.… (more)
LibraryThing member paulocel29
Very well.
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