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Tabucchi’s masterpiece “conjures a state between waking and dreaming” (The New York Times)
Dr. Pereira is an aging, lonely, overweight journalist who has failed to notice the menacing cloud of fascism over Salazarist Lisbon. One day he meets Montiero Rossi, an aspiring young writer whose anti-fascist fervor is as strong as Pereira’s apolitical languor. Eventually, breaking out of the shell of his own inhibitions, Pereira reluctantly rises to heroism―and this arc is “one of the most intriguing and appealing character studies in recent European fiction” (Kirkus).
happened here? You can see for yourself, replied David as he wiped his paint-stained hands on his butcher’s apron, we live in a world of hooligans, it was the hooligans. Have you called the police?, asked Pereira. You must be joking, replied David, you must be joking. And he went on covering the scrawlings with white paint. Pereira walked on to the Café Orquídea and took a seat inside, next to the fan. He ordered a lemonade and took off his jacket. Have you heard what’s going on, Dr Pereira?,
didn’t stir. So Pereira shook him by the arm and said: Monteiro Rossi, it’s time for supper, if you go on sleeping now you won’t sleep tonight, you’d do better to come and have a bite to eat. Monteiro Rossi leapt from the bed, obviously terrified. No need to get the wind up, Pereira said, its Dr Pereira, you’re quite safe here. They went into the dining-room and Pereira lit the candles. While he was cooking the omelette he offered Monteiro Rossi some tinned paté which he’d discovered in the
sprawled on the carpet. Pereira gave him a gentle tap-tap on the cheek and said: Monteiro Rossi, try and pull yourself together, it’s all over. But Monteiro Rossi didn’t budge. So Pereira went to the bathroom, soaked a towel and wiped the boy’s face with it. Monteiro Rossi, he repeated, it’s all over, they’ve gone away, wake up. Only then did he realize that the towel had come away all red with blood, Monteiro Rossi’s hair was sodden with it, his eyes were wide open and staring at the ceiling.
something important I have to tell you, but I can’t do so just now. What is it, Dr Pereira, asked Dr Cardoso, don’t you feel well? As a matter of fact I don’t, replied Pereira, but that’s not the point, the fact is that a very serious problem has arisen at home, I’m not sure if my private phone is under surveillance, but that doesn’t matter just now, I can’t say more for the moment but I need your help, Dr Cardoso. Tell me how I can help, said Dr Cardoso. Well, Dr Cardoso, said Pereira, tomorrow
She greeted him fulsomely. Nothing for me?, asked Pereira. Nothing new, Dr Pereira, replied Celeste, except they’ve given me a week’s holiday. And waving the calendar at him she continued: I’ll be back next Saturday, for a whole week you’ll have to do without me, nowadays the State protects the underprivileged, people like me I mean, we’re not organized into corporations for nothing. We’ll try to bear your absence as best we may, muttered Pereira, as he plodded upstairs. He entered the office,