The Book of Disquiet


In Lisbon there are a few restaurants or eating houses located above decent-looking taverns, places with the heavy, domestic look of restaurants in towns far from any rail line. These second-story eateries, usually empty except on Sundays, frequently contain curious types whose faces are not interesting but who constitute a series of digressions from life.

—Fernando Pessoa, from The Book of Disquiet, tr. by Alfred Mac Adam.

Still studied by the Pessoan critics, who have different interpretations about the way the book should be organized, it was first published in Portuguese in 1982, 47 years after Pessoa's death; the author died also at 47, in 1935. The book has seen publication in Spanish (1984), German (1985), Italian (1986), French (1988), and English (1991). The Book in 1991 had four English editions by different translators: Richard Zenith (editor and translator), Iain Watson, Alfred Mac Adam and Margaret Jull Costa. The Book is a bestseller, especially in German (16 editions, from different translators and publishers).

The book was listed, according to the Christian Science Monitor, on the Norwegian Book Clubs list of the 100 best works of fiction of all time, based on the responses of 100 authors from 54 countries.[1]

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