Act of the Damned by António Lobo Antunes

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Synopsis

As the socialist revolution closes in, a once-wealthy Portuguese family is accused of economic sabotage and must escape across the border to Spain. But the patriarch lies dying, and his greedy son-in-law is scheming to secure the remains of the crumbling estate for himself. Only other family members keep getting in the way.
 

About António Lobo Antunes

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Lobo Antunes, a psychiatrist and a soldier in the Portuguese colonial wars in Angola, was born in Lisbon. "South of Nowhere", his second novel, published in 1980, became the center of controversy both because of its daring content and its novel structure. The action is very brief: it lasts only one night. The author tells a silent woman companion his frank impressions about his experience as a medical doctor in the war of liberation against Portuguese colonialism. In some passages, the novel makes allusion to The Lusiads and its allegorical intentions. It denounces with lucid sarcasm the failure of Portuguese colonization in Africa. Richard Zenith is a renowned translator from the Portuguese. His translations include works by Antonio Lobo Antunes and Fernando Pessoa. He is the author of a short story collection (Terceires Pessoas). He has received grants from the NEA and the Guggenheim. He lives in Lisbon.
 
Published September 12, 1996 by Grove Press. 246 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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The novel is densely packed with surrealistically heightened detail and amusingly nasty figurative language (e.g., ``Her fingers climbed up his wrist the way crabs climb up rocks at low tide'').

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Publishers Weekly

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But it is around Rodrigo, Diogo's voraciously greedy son-in-law, that the story revolves, as he schemes to secure what money remains after Diogo's lifetime of crooked investments.

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