The Book of Disquiet is one of the great literary works of the twentieth century. Written over the course of Fernando Pessoa's life, it was first published in 1982, pieced together from the thousands of individual manuscript pages left behind by Pessoa after his death in 1935.
Now this fragmentary modernist masterpiece appears in a major new edition that unites Margaret Jull Costa's celebrated translation with the most complete version of the text ever produced. It is presented here, for the first time in English, by order of original composition, and accompanied by facsimiles of the original manuscript.
Narrated principally by an assistant bookkeeper named Bernardo Soares - an alias of sorts for Pessoa himself - The Book of Disquiet is 'the autobiobraphy of someone who never existed', a mosaic of dreams, of hope and despair; a hymn to the streets and cafés of 1930s Lisbon, and an extraordinary record of the inner life of one of the century's most important writers. This new edition represents the most complete vision of Pessoa's genius.
The very book to read when you wake at 3am and can't get back to sleep - mysteries, misgivings, fears and dreams and wonderment. Like nothing else. (Philip Pullman)
In a time which celebrates fame, success, stupidity, convenience and noise, here is the perfect antidote (John Lanchester Daily Telegraph)
A complete masterpiece, the sort of book one makes friends with and cannot bear to be parted with. Boredom informs it, but not boringly. Pessoa loved the minutiae of what we care to deem the ordinary life, and that love enriches and deepens his art (Paul Bailey Independent)
A meandering, melancholic series of reveries and meditations ... beguiling and mysterious (William Boyd)
It's hard to explain how this modernist hymnal of boredom, fatigue, dejection and jadedness is so beautiful and life affirming (Mike McCormack New Statesman Books of the Year)
To read and then contemplate him is to be lifted a little bit above the earth in a floating bubble. One becomes both of the world and not of it. There's no one like him, apart from all of us. (Nicholas Lezard Guardian 2010-05-22)
An odd, occasionally exasperating and sometimes beautiful book and one that will be your friend at 3am on a sleepless night. (Sophia Martelli Observer 2010-10-17)
Fernando Pessoa was simply one of the best 20th-century writers ever... captivating... a series of beautifully wistful reminiscences, diary entries and aphoristic snippets... we recommend it like crazy. Pick one up and open it anywhere and we promise you'll be richly rewarded. (Stuart Hammond Dazed and Confused)