- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (18 May 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099593122
- ISBN-13: 978-0099593126
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,57,612 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A General Theory of Oblivion Paperback – 18 May 2016
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"A remarkable novel from one of Angola’s most notable storytellers" (Angel Gurria-Quintana Financial Times, Books of the year)
"The light detachment and readability of Louis de Bernières at his best, but combined with the sharp insights of JM Coetzee… Agualusa’s writing is a delight throughout" (Scotsman)
"In the hands of a literary expert and sensitive empathist like Agualusa, Ludo’s life story is irresistible" (Jane Graham Big Issue)
"Agualusa has already become one of lusophone Africa's most distinctive voices. In a line that was surely included to bait book reviewers, one of the novel's characters declares: 'A man with a good story is practically a king.' If this is true, then Agualusa can count himself among the continent's new royals" (Financial Times)
"The book is a wonderful mix of life and dramas real and imagine worlds and how someone avoids madness just in more than thirty years apart from the real world… This book shows why we maybe should be trying to get more books out of the Lusophone world." (Winstonsdad)
"A fascinating dark horse" (Eileen Battersby Irish Times)
The brilliant new novel from the winners of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, José Eduardo Agualusa and his translator Daniel HahnSee all Product description
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Top customer reviews
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In short chapters, Agualusa describes her life and gives poetic 'quotes' from her diary - and cuts in with short accounts of others' lives too - an investigative reporter, a fearsome interrogator, local thugs, a long-lost daughter, a diamond-filled pigeon, a performing hippo ... All these disparate tales come together, and I guess they give a patchwork impression of life in Angola.
But I got really bored, struggled to recall who was who and was glad to reach the end.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
"It wasn't until she was desperate that she took the Mucubals [watercolor] down off the wall. She was going to pull out the nail, just for aesthetic reasons, because it looked wrong there, serving no purpose, when it occurred to her that maybe this, this piece of metal, was holding up the wall. Maybe it was holding up the whole building. Who knows, if she pulled the nail out of the wall, the whole city might collapse.
She did not pull out the nail."
The story is written with warm humor, and although it is haunted by the shadow of the liberation struggle, along with the regime changes, arrests, torture, and summary executions that usually accompany such events, and which shape the lives of the characters like ocean currents pushing them toward each other or pulling them apart, it is less about those historical events than about the bonds forged among the people.
It is also a story about forgetting, all forms of forgetting -- disappearances, escapes, metamorphoses, solitudes, and amnesias -- as much as it a story of remembering: when something is forgotten, or vanishes, what is it that is left in its place. Can forgetting create anything?
"... the dead suffer from amnesia. They suffer even more from the poor memories of the living. You remember him every day ... You should laugh as you remember him, you should dance..."
It is a haunting story of one woman's choice to isolate herself from the world, but none the less her life has tangents with others. The story is richly and complexly told, but I found both the story and the way it is written facinating.