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Implacable Order Of Things, The

by Jose Luis Peixoto
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Anchor
  • Publishing date: 11/08/2009
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780307388285
  • ISBN: 030738828X

Synopsis

Winner of the José Saramago Literary Award

In an unnamed Portuguese village, against a backdrop of severe rural poverty, two generations of men and women struggle with love, violence, death, and—perhaps worst of all—the inescapability of fate.
 
A pair of twins conjoined at the pinky, a 120-year-old wise man, a shepherd turned cuckold by a giant, and even the Devil himself make up the unforgettably oddball cast of The Implacable Order of Things. As these lost souls come together and drift apart, José Lu?s Peixoto masterfully reveals the absurd, heartbreaking, and ultimately bewitching aspects of human nature in a literary performance that heralds the arrival of an astoundingly gifted and poetic writer.

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  • Excellent
    From Amazon

    Unique and quite fantastic. I am reading it in English but am anxious to read the Portuguese version. Beautiful book - have not read something as good in a while.

  • Love versus inertia, hope versus fate
    From Amazon

    The primary plot of this remarkable novel involves rape, adultery, and murder. Even so, taken entire, the book is not as dark or its characters as grotesque as some reviewers have made them seem. It comprehends many ironies and has scenes of pure comedy. The devil officiates at weddings and funerals in a church with no altar and no sacristy. A ceaseless voice shut up in a chest offers this hypothesis: "Perhaps suffering is tossed by handfuls over the multitudes, with most of it falling on some people and little or none of it on others." The voice also wonders whether people exist. An elderly, newly married shepherd, whose first child is still in the womb, may be the character who thinks, "Perhaps there's a light inside people, perhaps a clarity; perhaps people aren't made of darkness, perhaps certainties are a breeze inside people, and perhaps people are the certainties they possess." He only "may be" the character: I had identified at least seven distinct narrators before I stopped trying to sort them out. Because Peixoto is a poet, the earth, the sky, the village and all of its material objects are also telling the story. The shepherd has married a much younger woman who remembers their first encounter in images that match his sensibility: "It happened in the April when I started working at the rich people's house. On that late afternoon, balmy like this one, José arrived from the fields when I was leaving. We stopped and looked at each other. He said good afternoon, and his voice was part of that soft light. In the sky above us, a stork glided by very slowly, its wings wide open, carrying a dry stick in its very long beak. And that moment was ours and enormous. Looking at me steadily, he said wait for me, tonight I'll come and fetch you. And on that day I didn't feel the long walk to town as I feel it today, every single step." José, remembering the same meeting, tells us he didn't go. "Even though I'd waited all my life for that moment, unique among all moments . . . Even though a stork rose up in flight, gliding like an embrace we've never known but imagine to be possible, even though I looked at her with my whole being . . . even though the twilight had seen us where only sincere souls go, I came into this room, lay down on this bed, let that unique moment pass by indistinctly, and let my life become a painful place of squandered moments." I don't know Portuguese, so I can't comment on Richard Zenith's English translation except to say that it is a joy to read. "Nenhum Olhar," the second of Peixoto's three published novels, came out in Lisbon in 2000 and won a major literary prize. The Zenith translation was published in hardback late last year in London under the title "Blank Gaze," which is a direct translation of nenhum olhar. This summer in the US, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday published the same English translation as an attractive, well made paperback, "The Implacable Order of Things."

  • The Implacable Order of Things
    From Amazon

    The Implacable Order of Things is a story told in an irrestistible and mesmerizing voice. After being captivated page after page by strange and haunting happenings, one finds it difficult to leave such a mythical place when the author's last sentence demands it. The life and fate of each inhabitant existing in such an unforgiving arid landscape still feeds my imagination as if I'd been walking the dusty roads myself. It is a novel not easily retired to the bookshelf and my favorite so far this year.

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