The Splendor of Portugal‘s four narrators are members of a once well-to-do family whose plantation was lost in the Angolan War of Independence; the matriarch of this unhappiest of clans and her three adult children speak in a nightmarish, remorseless gush to give us the details of their grotesque family life. Like a character out of Faulkner’s decayed south, the mother clings to the hope that her children will come back, save her from destitution, and restore the family’s imagined former glory. The children, for their part, haven’t seen each other in years, and in their isolation are tormented by feverish memories of Angola.
In this brutal dissection of guilt, victimhood, self-hatred, betrayal, and atrocities both political and domestic, Antunes proves once more that he is the foremost stylist of his generation, a fearless investigator of the worst excesses of the human animal.
Dr. António Lobo Antunes, born in 1942 in Lisbon, decided to be a writer at age 7; he’s also been a soldier, military physician, and psychiatrist, and served in Angola during the Portuguese Colonial War. In addition to his various literary prizes – including the 2000 Austrian State Prize and the 2005 Jerusalem Prize – Dr. Lobo Antunes is also a Commandeur de l’Order des Arts et des Lettres in France and a Knight of the Grand Cross in the Order of St. James of the Sword in Portugal.