Until Stones Become Lighter Than Water


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António Lobo Antunes; Translated from the Portuguese by Jeff Love

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A novel about the horrors of war and its aftermath from one of Europe’s most brilliant authors

Award-winning author António Lobo Antunes returns to the subject of the Portuguese colonial war in Angola with a vigorous account of atrocity and vengeance. Drawing on his own bitter experience as a soldier stationed for twenty-seven months in Angola, Lobo Antunes tells the story of a young African boy who is brought to Portugal by one of the soldiers who destroyed the child’s village, and of the boy’s subsequent brutal murder of this adoptive father figure at a ritual pig killing.
Deftly framing the events through an assembly of interwoven narratives and perspectives, this is one of Lobo Antunes’s most captivating and experimental books. It is also a timely consideration of the lingering wounds that remain from the conflict between European expansionism and its colonized victims who were forced to accept the norms of a supposedly superior culture.

António Lobo Antunes is the author of more than thirty books, including Fado Alexandrino, The Inquisitors’ Manual, and The Splendor of Portugal. He lives in Lisbon. Jeff Love is research professor of German and Russian at Clemson University.

Praise for António Lobo Antunes
“Lobo Antunes’ sketches are alive with the poetry of the everyday, and tinged with the gentlest of self-mockery.”—J. M. Coetzee

“One of the living writers who will matter most . . . a great original.”—Harold Bloom

“António Lobo Antunes is a novelist of the very first rank. His formidably concentrated, ironic fictions engage moral and political issues in a way that makes him heir to Conrad and Faulkner.”—George Steiner

"One of the most skillful psychological portraitists writing anywhere."—the New Yorker

“A master navigator of the human psyche . . . [with] the voice of Nabokov by way of Cortázar, Gogol by way of Dylan.”—Jonathan Levi, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Deserves a wide audience of discerning readers."—Michael Mewshaw, Washington Post

“Perhaps Portugal’s greatest living author . . . A genius.”—Alan Kaufman, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

"Antunes is definitely a writer worth reading for his literary talent and his insights into Portugal’s history, geography, and national character."—Publishers Weekly

“Lobo Antunes’ experience as a soldier stationed in colonially occupied Angola marked and altered him—perhaps made him the writer he is today. The brutality and mendacity of that time surges back to the fore in this new book, which unfolds in 23 chapters, each just one long sentence. . . . Weaving in and out of a symphony of voices, the novel feels more like music than prose.”—John Freeman, Literary Hub

“A damning, synoptic depiction of conflict, filled with indelible scenes . . . Remarkable . . . Lobo Antunes concocts a fitting form for post-colonial reckonings.”—Bailey Trela, Full Stop

“Lobo Antunes’s prose is dense and recursive, chunks of thought masterfully split or spliced with dialogical interjections . . . With an aching lyricism and a set of family relations worthy of Faulkner’s darkest, Until Stones Become Lighter Than Water is a book that begs rereading.”—Grant Schatzman, World Literature Today
ISBN: 9780300226621
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
384 pages, 6 x 9
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