Lisboa, Portugal, 1942

António Lobo Antunes studied medicine in Lisbon and worked as a psychiatrist before being called up to serve in the Portuguese Army in 1970 as a military doctor during the Portuguese Colonial War. During that time, he met Ernesto Melo Antunes, one of the leaders in the subsequent Carnation Revolution in which Lobo Antunes was involved. Profoundly marked by his experience of war, when he returned to Lisbon he left psychiatry to immerse himself in his literary work, which was soon recognised for its brilliance and originality. Lobo Antunes became one of the most well-established and important figures in contemporary Portuguese literature. His prolific output, which has earned him numerous awards, has been translated into more than 30 languages and has made him a firm candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

  • “A soaring, symphonic epic by the Portuguese master novelist, considered to be the 'heir to Conrad and Faulkner'.” George Steiner (on Que farei quando tudo arde?)
  • “One of the living writers who will matter most.” Harold Bloom
  • “Lobo Antunes’ sketches are alive with the poetry of the everyday, and tinged with the gentlest of self-mockery.” J. M. Coetzee 
  • “A master navigator of the human psyche . . . [with] the voice of Nabokov by way of Cortazar, Gogol by way of Dylan.” Jonathan LeviLos Angeles Times Book Review
  • “Perhaps Portugal’s greatest living author . . . A genius.” Alan Kaufman, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
  • “When Antunes is in full heat . . . he reads like William Faulkner or Céline.” The Boston Globe
  • “Antunes is definitely a writer worth reading for his literary talent and his insights into Portugal’s history, geography, and national character.” Publishers Weekly
  • “One of the most skillful psychological portraitists writing anywhere.” The New Yorker
  • “Deserves a wide audience of discerning readers.” Washington Post
  • “Antunes has empathy for the contradictions of human feeling. He is a warm-blooded writer.” Michael PyeNew York Times Book Review
  • “Lobo Antunes, one of the most skillful psychological portraitists writing anywhere, renders the turpitude of an entire society through an impasto of intensely individual voices.” ― New Yorker


Among the crackling furniture of his Lisbon home, an old man looks across the Tagus as he loses himself in memories over a cellar and a small garden with a swing. Although he eventually became president of a large company, success has never erased the loss of that time, returning again and again to the place and imagining that little things and characters...

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Short stories and novellas

Books for children and young readers

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Lobo Antunes returns to a theme that has haunted him for a long time: loneliness, particularly the loneliness that accompanies old age, when losses become too painful to bear.

The Size of the World is a book full of furniture that crackles at night. Not because the writer turned to the gothic novel in his 32nd novel, but because in the intimate worlds he creates, nothing is more frightening than earthly loneliness: "Loneliness is measured by the crackling of the furniture at night, when the armchair in which I sit is suddenly uncomfortable, huge, and the objects increase in size on the napkins, leaning towards me, listening (...)".

With the furniture creaking in the background in his Lisbon home, an old man gazes across the Tagus while losing himself in his memories of a wine shop and a small garden with a swing. Even in the years when he was president of a large company, he never allowed his success to prevent him from reminiscing about those past times. Again and again, he goes back to that place and imagines that the little things and the people – whether they are the most important, like his daughter, or not so important, like the lady passing by with the shopping trolley– remain unchanged, like uncontaminated time.

O Tamanho do Mundo (The Size of the World) is a book to read aloud, not as a call or prayer recognisable to followers of the Antunesian creed, but rather in the seclusion of that same solitude that is measured "by the crackling of the furniture at night", in the company of the throat that coughs inside ours, aware that we have so many more bones in our bodies. Doing so (reading it anyway, alone and sonorously) helps us realise the almost mantric power of the words of António Lobo Antunes, probably and still the greatest Portuguese writer of this time. [...] Declaring that nobody writes like Lobo Antunes is both a commonplace and the best compliment you can pay him.” Ponto Final

Lobo Antunes searches for the language that best fits not with an explanation of the world, but with an harmony with the language of the world itself.” Publico

“Regardless of the plots, what matters most in António Lobo Antunes' work is not 'the world', but 'the vision of the world', this being independent (and variable) of individuality, which casts doubt on factuality (the real world) and imposes fictionality (the world of literature) as the primordial world in which everything is possible.” Jornal do Letras,Artes e Ideias, Lazer

António Lobo Antunes writes about the world in an increasingly refined way and reaches a crucial moment in this quest. [...] But this, the shortest novel by António Lobo Antunes, can also be a poem in four voices, starting from a centre: how to find the best way to say what nobody has yet managed to say.” Publico

“With Nobel or without, Lobo Antunes will continue to write. And maybe he'll be able to surprise us when we wouldn't expect him to.” Expresso



The new novel by António Lobo Antunes, Dictionary of the Language of Flowers, features Júlio Fogaça as its main character, a prominent member of the PCP in the 1930s. Over twenty-four chapters, in a disruptive writing style characteristic of Lobo Antunes, the reader is led to question the true identity of this protagonist. Themes such as time, memory, and identity, dear to the author, are also present in this novel. However, the true cornerstone of the narrative is the discovery of an old book, which is the origin of the novel's title, and which causes a surprising graphic oscillation between contemporary Portuguese and Portuguese from the late 19th century.

A Outra Margem do Mar recovers the beginning of the upheaval in Baixa do Cassanje, Angola. The novel thus falls on incidents that occurred before the colonial war, when large cotton plantations were burnt, events that were significant to the unfolding of the conflict.

"The first chapter of A Outra Margem do Mar is the best that has been written in Portugal. The variation in discourses, in nuances and unsaid things is such that reading and rereading leave the reader's brain as if they had just come out of the gym. Surprising, even more so for the musical beauty with which the writing appears.” Jornal do Negócios

“Advisable for strong readers who do not succumb to sentimentality, António Lobo Antunes's prose embeds itself in the soul, if we have one, and never lets go. The incessant remembrance to which the characters surrender embitters, passively despairs. And no gesture, no desire, can rescue us. It is the saddest prose in Portugal. It is in a league of its own.” Publico

A journey into the subconscious of five men linked by a criminal pact.

The title A Última Porta Antes da Noite is a reference to the opera Bluebeard’s Castle, by Béla Bartók, and the mystery of the seven doors. Lobo Antunes “opens the doors” into the minds of five characters who’ve planned and committed a crime. A businessman has been murdered and his body dissolved in sulphuric acid to completely eliminate the evidence. In their defence, they all keep repeating “No body, no crime.” In twenty-five chapters (for twenty-five years of jail time), the author takes us on a journey into the intimate worlds of the five accused, accessing their childhood memories and traumas, sketching their personalities, and revealing how the crime occurred.

Inspired by a true story, António Lobo Antunes writes about five voices that are like “human phantasmagorical ruins”.

“A human comedy that reveals what is most grotesque and sensitive.” Livros, Ípsilon, Publico

“António Lobo Antunes has built another novel-cathedral. About memory, suffering, loss, love and all the fragile, almost unspeakable things that escape us or are missing.” José Mario Silva, Expresso

“Antunes, one of the most skilful psychological portraitists writing anywhere…” The New Yorker

“Every new book by Lobo Antunes expands the limits of the novel. ” El País



Longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award 2021

A novel about the horrors of war and its aftermath

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´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.

"What’s in this book is not a story, but a voice rising up between two silences." Bruno Vieira Amaral, Observador

At the end of her life, a retired actress finds herself afflicted with an irreversible disease that affects her memory. It becomes increasingly difficult for her to not only remember specific episodes in her life, but also her own name. Having faked the voices of so many characters, she barely recognises herself, and past and present become confused in her memory. The boundary inside her that separates her voice from other voices becomes diffuse, and her identity is diluted.

Immersed in the actress’s mind, the narrative discourse offers the reader brief, fragmented access to the life and personality of the woman who lived inside the actress, who is being gradually but implacably devastated by disease. At the end of the day, that’s also what literature is: a game of voices searching for identity.

"This intense novel raises the question when Lobo Antunes will finally receive the Nobel Prize." Trouw (The Netherlands)

"Lobo Antunes leaves the reader breathless from beginning to end." NRC Handelsblad (The Netherlands) 

"L'écrivain portugais a renoncé a parler comme un livre, mais il n'est pas question pour lui d'écrire comme on parle. Il invente un parler qui ramasse en lui tout le savoir-faire de l'écriture et le fait oublier." Hédi Kaddour, Le Monde

"Car Lobo Antunes est un auteur lyrique, nostalgique, noir et dróle, - comme Proust, dont le rapproche sa phrase sinueuse, intemtlnable, musicale ; cómme Céline, dont il partage le goût de l'Hénaurme, la propension a passer sans solution de continuité du réel au délire, tout en restant dans le réel." Christophe Mercier

"Ce livre terrible, superbe, nous révele que meme dans l'obscurité de la déchéance d 'un esprit, subsistent des moments radieux, volés a l'enfance. Lobo Antunes va une nouvelle fois la ou si peu oseraient s'avancer, sur la face noire de l'esprit humain." Oriane Jeancourt Galiniani, Transfuge

The underlying theme of Da natureza dos deuses is power and how it is used.

This heartrending choral novel revolves around the extreme cruelty of the main character, the doctor, who escapes poverty to become lord and master of an empire. This harsh work reveals how power relationships, moral degradation, and destitution inevitably lead to extreme violence.

"Antunes has empathy for the contradictions of human feeling. He is a warm-blooded writer" –Michael Pye, New York Times Book Review

"Deserves a wide audience of discerning readers" –Washington Post

The book, set in an unspecific time, is about the daily life of the people living in a building in Lisbon. But, this is only an excuse to delve deep into our own intimacy.

A middle-aged woman decides to spend the weekend in her old family holiday home to say farewell to the place she spent her childhood. It is there she recalls lost friendships and family tragedies. During this time, she reflects upon her failed marriage and the loss of her only son. António Lobo Antunes transforms the story of a hopeless woman who says goodbye to everything and a family scarred by pain, into a surprising and impressive novel.

Lobo Antunes delves into the most traumatic episode of Angola through the fragmented memories and dreams of a torn woman. The author draws inspiration from the story of a woman that was the commander of the female batallion MPLA (Popular movement for the liberation of Angola) who was tortured and killed following the state coup of May 1977. It is said that while they tortured her she did not stop singing. Antonio Lobo Antunes tells the story of Cristina, admitted in to a psychiatric clinic in Lisbon. In her runaway torrent of memories, dialogues and traumatic episodes, Cristina remembers her early childhood in Africa, at the time when everything inside her head was intertwined with her father´s voice, who was a former black priest and one of the torturers sadly known from the “Commission of Tears”.



Between the last days of March and the beginning of April 2007, after a serious operation, the narrator, amid the pain and confusion caused by anesthesia and medicines, recovers fragments of his life and the people who passed through it: his parents and the grandparents, the village of his childhood, the nature of the mountains, the loves and the dislikes. Like a flowing river, we live with it the humiliations of disease, the nearness of death, and the call of life. 

Narra la historia de una gran familia ganadera venida a menos. La inminente muerte de la matriarca sirve como excusa a Lobo Antunes para hilvanar las voces, interesadas y contradictorias, que darán cuenta de la historia familiar. La voz del padre, un ludópata obsesionado con el número 17, que dilapida la fortuna familiar; la de Francisco, que se afana por conservar los restos de la fortuna familiar para apropiarse de ellos cuando muera la madre; el relato de João, hijo predilecto que deshonra a la familia al ser descubierta su homosexualidad... Todo contado con su característico estilo cargado de lirismo y una estructura narrativa inspirada en la fiesta de los toros.

In a remote ranch in the Trafaria region of Portugal, life passes at a different pace, immune to any external influence. A primitive rural world ruled by the boss’ absolute authority.  The novel begins with the first person narration of the boss’ grandson, an autistic child. He rattles off his terrorific, extremely violent accounts of beings that have lost all humanity and commit terrible crimes. Later, when the boy is committed to a mental sanatorium, the reader discovers that the successive descriptions and scenes are a result of the narrator’s sick mind. But perhaps not everything is fruit of his imagination.

Las idas y venidas de ocho jóvenes delincuentes son descritas por varios narradores que toman la palabra alternativamente y que ponen de manifiesto los tremendos contrastes sociales y raciales entre los diferentes estratos de Lisboa. Se trata de un universo poblado de seres heridos y en continua lucha contra sus fantasmas y obsesiones. Un libro actual que nos recuerda que no hay verdades absolutas, y que el bien y el mal coexisten en nuestro interior.

“António Lobo Antunes ha construido una obra en la que, a pesar de la crudeza de las temáticas y de la claustrofobia ambiental, se detecta la compasión que siente por los personajes, su capacidad para comprender su desesperación, la de los desheredados: todos nosotros (policías, hijos, putas o criminales).” Ana Cristina Leonardo, Expresso

Cuatro personajes tratan de reconstruir sus vidas en una interminable noche de insomnio. El gran novelista utiliza la noche y la vigilia como los territorios más propicios para recrear los recuerdos o para imaginar lo que pudo ser y no fue. Entre las doce de la noche y las cinco de la mañana, cuatro seres solitarios, en cuatro lugares distintos, luchan contra el insomnio y se enfrentan a sus frustraciones en una noche que parece no tener fin; un tiempo detenido que también es el de su propio país.

Deslumbrante y complejo ejercicio autobiográfico. Tras la aparente anarquía narrativa, una compleja reflexión sobre el desamor, y un viaje a un territorio decisivo: la infancia.

 Las obsesiones del autor desgranadas a través de sus inquietantes personajes, que se unen en una sinfonía coral, con la Angola postcolonial como telón de fondo. Una obra que se impone como un viaje turbador e imprescindible.

A soaring, symphonic epic by the Portuguese master novelist, considered to be the "heir to Conrad and Faulkner"–George Steiner

The razor-thin line between reality and madness is transgressed in this Faulknerian masterpiece. What Can I Do When Everything's On Fire?, set in the steamy world of Lisbon's demimonde—a nightclub milieu of scorching intensity and kaleidoscopic beauty, a baleful planet populated by drag queens, clowns, and drug addicts—is narrated by Paolo, the son of Lisbon's most legendary transvestite, who searches for his own identity as he recalls the harrowing death of his father, Carlos; the life of Carlos's lover, Rui, a heroin addict and suicide; as well as the other denizens of this hallucinatory world. Psychologically penetrating, pregnant with literary symbolism, and deeply sympathetic in its depiction of society's dregs, Lobo Antunes's novel ventriloquizes the voices of the damned in a poetic masterwork that recalls Joyce's Ulysses with a dizzying farrago of urban images few readers will forget.

Un novela escrita contra la muerte y ambientada en el Portugal eterno, enfermo y cansado de Lobo Antunes. La novela reúne a una serie de personajes de la alta burguesía colonial del Portugal salazarista en torno a la cama de un padre enfermo , y nos introduce en los vericuetos de una familia que, escondida tras una máscara de respetabilidad, oculta un turbio pasado en el que el honor y el tráfico de armas se dan la mano en un inusual intento de evitar la ruina económica.

Best Novel by the Portuguese Writers Association (Grande Prémio de Romance e Novela da Associação Portuguesa de Escritores) (1999) - The D. Dinis Prize of the Casa de Mateus Foundation (Prémio D. Dinis da Fundação Casa de Mateus) (1999) - The Austrian State Literature Prize (Prémio de Literatura Europeia do Estado Austríaco) (2000).

Set in the aftermath of the “Carnation Revolution” of April 25, 1974, António Lobo Antunes’s Warning to the Crocodiles is a fragmented narrative of the violent tensions resulting from major political changes in Portugal. Told through the memories of four women who spend their days fashioning homemade explosives and participating in the kidnap and torture of communists, the novel details the clandestine activities of an extreme right-wing Salazarist faction resisting the country’s new embrace of democracy.

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. The vitriol and self-hatred of the characters know no bounds, for they are at once victims and culprits, guilty of atrocities committed in the name of colonialism as well as the cruel humiliations and betrayals of their own kin. Antunes again proves that he is the foremost stylist of his generation, a fearless investigator into the worst excesses of the human animal.

António Lobo Antunes's eleventh novel chronicles the decadence not just of a family but of an entire society  –a society morally and spiritually vitiated by four decades of totalitarian rule. In this his masterful novel, António Lobo Antunes, "one of the most skillful psychological portraitists writing anywhere, renders the turpitude of an entire society through an impasto of intensely individual voices." (The New Yorker)

The protagonist and anti-hero Senhor Francisco, a powerful state minister and personal friend of Salazar, expects to be named prime minister when Salazar is incapacitated by a stroke in 1968. Outraged that the President (Admiral Américo Tomás) appoints not him but Marcelo Caetano to the post, Senhor Francisco retreats to his farm in Setúbal, where he vaguely plots a coup with other ex-ministers and aged army officers who feel they've been snubbed or forgotten. But it's younger army officers who in 1974 pull off a coup, the Revolution of the Flowers (so called since no shots were fired, carnations sticking out of the butts of the insurgents' rifles), ending 42 years of dictatorship. Senhor Francisco, more paranoid than ever, accuses all the workers at his farm of being communists and sends them away with a brandished shotgun, remaining all alone –a large but empty shadow of his once seeming omnipotence– to defend a decrepit farm from the figments of his imagination.

The Inquisitor’s Manuel is not so much an allegory of fascism as an anatomy of the way it penetrates societies. . . . Arrogance, brutality, moral squalor—much here is reminiscent of another anatomist of tyranny’s intimacies, William Faulkner. . . . Motives that seemed clear mutate into their opposite; villains and victims change places, then change places again; ironies mount, and with them the force of the blows they deliver.  The story takes shape like a painting, its pattern gradually emerging as the artist traverses and re-traverses its surface. . . . Personal nightmares become national tragedies, in turn breeding new and ever fiercer nightmares.” William Deresiewicz, The New York Times Book Review

“A brilliant performance.  Too often, novelistic treatments of life under a dictatorship are unrelentingly bleak, but Lobo Antunes’s witnesses are wonderfully diverse in their testimonials:  Some are bitter, but others are funny, sarcastic or simply clueless. . . . Together, they provide a panoramic view of recent Portuguese history that is impressive both as a work of art and as a condemnation of fascism.” Steven Moore, The Washington Post

“Antunes creates voices with a scrupulous, authorial neutrality. . . . He also has created a character in Senhor Francisco . . . as complex in his cunning, blindness, selfishness and casual brutality as King Lear.” Thomas McGonigle, The Los Angeles Times 

“In this, perhaps Lobo Antunes’s blackest novel to date, what impels the reader through the hopeless, loveless landscape he paints is the sheer energy of the writing, the scalpel-sharp eye for physical and psychological detail and the parade of vivid characters voicing their discontents and desires.” Margaret Jull Costa, Times Literary Supplement 

Una Lisboa marginal, decadente, que acoge un pequeño universo de personajes que giran en torno a su propia soledad y aislamiento. Un padre ingenuo -que cree que Gardel no murió en aquel accidente aéreo- y una tía empecinada acuden a un hospital para velar un joven heroinómano en estado de coma.

Antunes tells the history of Portugal as “family histories, tales of power and passion, violent fathers and helpless sons” (Die Zeit, Hamburg). In The Natural Order of Things, he draws us into a labyrinth of disparate lives whose connections become clear only gradually. A diabetic teenage girl in a Lisbon apartment complex is kept awake by the whispered childhood memories of the middle-aged civil servant lover she despises. Her father, once a miner in South Africa, is now reduced to dreams of “flying underground.” An officer in the pre-revolutionary army is tortured in prison on charges of conspiracy, plagued by memories of his illegitimate sister, locked away to live as a ghost in the attic like Bertha Rochester in Jane Eyre. A secret policeman, who has abandoned his sanity to teach hypnotism by correspondence course, unwittingly holds the key to their secret histories. Rife with images of startling beauty, The Natural Order of Things attains the brilliance of Elias Canetti and Nikolai Gogol, entwining the voices and memories of its characters in a tragicomic portrait of a disintegrating society.

“[A] work of poetic and erotic genius from a master navigator of the human psyche. . .  . Antunes writes the tales of these two families with the insight of a Faulkner, of a man who knows the scent and the taste of the dust from which his characters are begotten and to which they return. . . . [His] is the voice of Nabokov by way of Cortazar, Gogol by way of Dylan.” Los Angeles Times Book Review

“António Lobo Antunes’s previous books have earned him comparisons to almost every literary master of the twentieth century—writers as diverse as Dos Passos, Céline, García Márquez, and Cormac McCarthy. This newly translated novel will likely have the same results, with Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury the most apt comparison. Lobo Antunes has a deft touch in creating a tapestry of voices out of the jumbled interior monologues of his characters.” Review of Contemporary Fiction

The Natural Order of Things takes its sinuous structure from the shape of the Tagus River, which purls through Lisbon and each character’s consciousness in the same way the Liffey streams through Joyce’s Dublin. . . . [Antunes] deserves a wide audience of discerning readers.” The Washington Post Book World

 “The Natural Order of Things . . . reads like William Faulkner or Céline . . . gorgeous . . . bedeviled [and] lyrical . . . a remarkable writer.” The Boston Globe

“A unique, masterful, highly accomplished writer . . . The Natural Order of Things is both beautiful and intelligent . . . sure to satisfy on many levels . . . a novel of technical brilliance and compelling social immediacy.” The American Book Review

Una prosa preciosista, exacta, a la vez una historia de alta tensión dramática: un juez y un terrorista se encuentran frente a frente, en un difícil interrogatorio. Ambos se conocen desde la infancia y, paulatinamente, surgen los retazos y las contradicciones del presente y el pasado.

The Return of the Caravels  is a powerful indictment of Portuguese colonialism and another literary tour de force from the pen of Antonio Lobo Antunes, "the greatest living Portuguese writer" (Vogue). It is set in Lisbon as Portugal's African colonies gain their independence in the mid-1970s. In a contemporary response to Camoes's conquest epic The Lusiads, Antunes imagines Vasco da Gama and other heroes of Portuguese explorations beached amid the detritus of the empire's collapse. Or is it the modern colonials –with their mixed-race heritage and uneasy place in the "fatherland"– who have somehow ended up in sixteenth-century Lisbon? As da Gama begins winning back ownership of Lisbon piece by piece in crooked card games, four hundred years of Portuguese history mingle –the caravels dock next to Iraqi oil tankers, and the slave trade rubs shoulders with the duty-free shops. The Return of the Caravels is a startling and uncompromising look at one of Europe's great colonial powers, and how the era of conquest reshaped not just Portugal but the world.

"... the voice of Nabokov by way of Cortazar, Gogol by way of Dylan." -- Jonathan Levi, Los Angeles Times Book Review "Antunes has empathy for the contradictions of human feeling. He is a warm-bloodied writer." Michael Pye, The New York Times Book Review

"[Antunes] deserves a wide audience of discerning readers." Michael Mewshaw, The Washington Post Book World




As the socialist revolution closes in, a once-wealthy Portuguese family is accused of "economic sabotage." They must escape across the border to Spain, then on to Brazil  –but the family is bankrupt, financially and spiritually. The patriarch, Diogo, lies dying, while his rapacious offspring rifle through his belongings, searching for his will. He remembers with bitterness and resignation his foolish marriage to his brother's beautiful mistress, who left him with a mongoloid daughter and a simpleminded son, who at sixty is running toy trains past his father's deathbed with the solemn self-importance of a five-year-old. Told through a rippling overlay of voices, Act of the Damned circles closer and closer to the revelation of the diabolical immorality of Diogo's greedy son-in-law Rodrigo . . . who has fathered a child of his own bastard daughter and who is closing in on Diogo's crumbling estate. In the oppressive autumn heat, the characters' schemes ebb and flow in an atmosphere of decrepit elegance, tarnished silver, and rotting brocade. When the moment of departure finally arrives, the scene shifts from chaos to vacuum and Rodrigo finds himself no longer at the center of the group but firmly, terrifyingly, outside and alone.

On the tenth anniversary of the return of their battalion from Mozambique, five men attempt to rekindle the fraternal bond that helped them survive the colonial war that was Portugal's Vietnam. In turn, they tell the stories of their lives before, during, and after the revolution that overthrew the long-lived Salazar dictatorship.



Rui S., a political historian, is unable to accept the circumstances of his life: his mother's death from cancer, his estrangement from his family, his rejection by his first wife and children, his political vacillations and his ambiguous feelings for his second wife.

Like his creator, the narrator of this novel is a psychiatrist who loathes psychiatry, a veteran of the despised 1970s colonial war waged by Portugal against Angola, a survivor of a failed marriage, and a man seeking meaning in an uncaring and venal society. The reader joins Antunes on a journey both real and phantasmagorical as he travels by car from a vacation in the Algarve back to his hated work as a psychiatrist at a Lisbon mental institution. In the course of one long day and evening, he carries on an imaginary conversation with his daughter Joanna, observes with surreal vision the bleak countryside of his nation, recalls the horrors of his involuntary role in the suppression of Angolan independence, and curses the charlatanism of contemporary psychiatric "advances" that destroy rather than heal.

"Brilliant…harrowing…Packs the impact of an exploding mortar shell." Kai Maristed, Los Angeles Times

Considered to be António Lobo Antunes's masterpiece, The Land at the End of the World recounts the anguished tale of a Portuguese medic haunted by memories of war, who, like the Ancient Mariner, will tell his tale to anyone who listens. In the tradition of William Faulkner and Gabriel García Márquez, Lobo Antunes weaves words into an exhilarating tapestry, imbuing his prose with the grace and resonance of poetry. The narrator, freshly returned to Lisbon after his hellish tour of duty in Angola, confesses the traumas of his memory to a nameless lover. Their evening unfolds like a fever dream, as Lobo Antunes leaps deftly back and forth from descriptions of postdictatorship Portugal to the bizarre and brutal world of life on the front line. The result is both tragic and absurd, and belongs among the great war novels of the modern age.



António Lobo Antunes's first novel, published in Portugal in 1979, is a portrait of an existential crisis. The protagonist, a psychiatrist residing in Lisbon whose true vocation is writing, recounts various facets and chapters of his life through a vibrant voice, emphasizing the most intimate and engaging aspects. Over the course of a day and a night, the hero and narrator of this story reveals the desire to truly listen to himself and, in doing so, to finally rediscover an identity lost long ago.

‘A novel that reaches an admirable level of intensity, imposing itself with a conviction in the analysis of the human soul that Camus or Dostoevsky would envy.’ Babelia, El País

‘António Lobo Antunes is an unusual privilege in the panorama of world literature. His books are authentic miracles that manage to make authentic poetry out of the most common materials, telling what is untellable, capturing memory as small emotional pulsations.’ Ignacio Echevarría

Memória de elefante is a perfect model of a debut work due to its ambition and desire for prominence, and above all, it serves as a warning of the talent that would come later.’ Letras Libres

‘And it is a true descent into hell, a journey to the end of the night in twenty-four hours, in a fireworks display of raw and violent images. From the outset, this first book reveals the relentless style of one of the greatest contemporary Portuguese writers.’ Gérard Meudal

Memória de elefante [...] finally allows us to discover the genesis of his work. A fierce universe, between Celinean heritage and social critique. [...] However, it would be a shame to see in this book only a beautiful draft where the talent of a future master is tested.’ Fabrice Gabriel

‘You couldn't think of a better introduction to the enormous work of the author, who has wrongly still not won a Nobel Prize.’ Aargauer Zeitung

Short stories and novellas

Breve colección de relatos donde el humor y los temas recurrentes del autor se hacen patentes.

Biography / Memoirs

Seleçao feta a partir dos volumes Livro de crónicas e Segundo Livro de crónicas. Nesta seleção de sessenta textos, publicados principalmente no jornal Público e na revista Visão, Portugal, vemos um escritor diferente, mas ainda genial. Ele fala de si, de relacionamentos e despedida, num coimpleto entrelaçamento entre realidade e ficção. Como resultado, cria textos brilhantes, em que pequenas passagens da vida ganham dimensão universal. 

Poco dado a la confidencia, Antonio Lobo Antunes habla por primera vez abiertamente de su vida y de su obra. Y lo hace sin protegerse, sin esconderse tras el lenguaje críptico y hermético que caracteriza su prosa. Son además conversaciones llenas de silencios, de pausas que, a modo de catarsis, el escritor utiliza para recobrar el equilibrio que la desnudez de su testimonio le hace perder en varias ocasiones. Su vida cotidiana es ritual y sencilla. Otra cosa son sus vivencias.

Journalistic Work

Este Tercer libro de crónicas reúne algunas de las que António Lobo Antunes escribió entre 2002 y 2004. El oficio de escritor y las dudas que lo asaltan, su estancia en Angola, la infancia "en una casa con una acacia", la familia, el amor, lo efímero y lo eterno son algunos de los temas recurrentes de sus novelas, que desarrolla también en las crónicas. Los múltiples registros del autor, la sutileza de su humor, su virtuosismo y el arte de llevar al lector de la sonrisa a la emoción extrema hacen que estos textos se lean con una enorme facilidad.

A lyrical, searing work of autobiography, reflection, and fiction, evoking García Márquez's memoirs and Pamuk's Istanbul.

António Lobo Antunes's sole ambition from the age of seven was to be a writer. Here, in The Fat Man and Infinity, "the heir to Conrad and Faulkner" (George Steiner) reflects on the fractured paradise of his childhood—the world of prim, hypocritical, class-riven Lisbon in midcentury. His Proust-like memoirs, written over thirty years in chronicle form, pass through the filter of an adult who has known war and pain, and bear witness to the people whom he loved and who have gone into the dark. A modern-day chronicle of Portugal's imperfect past and arresting present, seen through the eyes of a master fiction writer, one on a short list to win a Nobel Prize. 

“The personal essays and reminiscences of António Lobo Antunes, happily gathered here, provide not only glimpses into Portuguese life but also passages that lead to the heart of experience itself. His descriptive quickness and his genius for metaphor cause the line between prose and poetry to vanish before our astonished eyes.” Billy Collins

A lyrical, searing work of autobiography, reflection, and fiction, evoking García Márquez's memoirs and Pamuk's Istanbul.

António Lobo Antunes's sole ambition from the age of seven was to be a writer. Here, in The Fat Man and Infinity, "the heir to Conrad and Faulkner" (George Steiner) reflects on the fractured paradise of his childhood—the world of prim, hypocritical, class-riven Lisbon in midcentury. His Proust-like memoirs, written over thirty years in chronicle form, pass through the filter of an adult who has known war and pain, and bear witness to the people whom he loved and who have gone into the dark. Stunningly translated by Margaret Jull Costa, in prose that glides like poetry, this is a modern-day chronicle of Portugal's imperfect past and arresting present, seen through the eyes of a master fiction writer, one on a short list to win a Nobel Prize. 

“The personal essays and reminiscences of António Lobo Antunes, happily gathered here, provide not only glimpses into Portuguese life but also passages that lead to the heart of experience itself. His descriptive quickness and his genius for metaphor cause the line between prose and poetry to vanish before our astonished eyes.” —Billy Collins

Books for children and young readers

Una historia que va más allá de la amistad en Lisboa. El anhelo de África. Nostalgia de la niñez. El puente del Tajo como recuerdo y como telón de fondo. Un texto de António Lobo Antunes ilustrado por las acuarelas del músico y compositor Vitorino.


Edited by María José Lobo Antunes and Joana Lobo Antunes.

The collection of letters written by António Lobo Antunes, a young soldier, doctor and a aspirant writer, to his wife while he was serving in Angola between 1971 and 1973, during the Portuguese Colonial War.

Cartas da guerra has been adapted into a film in 2016 by the portuguese director Ivo M. Ferreira.

Anthology / Selection

  • The fat man and infinity & Other writing. Norton, 2009 (USA).
  • Libro de Cónicas: una selección. Siruela, 2001 (España).
  • As coisas da vida- 60 Crônicas escholhidas. Objetiva, 2011. (Brasil).
  • Las cosas de la vida. Universidad de Talca, colección Premios José Donoso, 2015 (Chile).

Other genres

Catálogo de una exposición de Pintura de Júlio Pomar con texto de António Lobo Antunes.


  • 2023 - Prémio Fundação Inês de Castro por O Tamanho do Mundo
  • 2018 - Premio Bottari Lattes Grinzane (Italy)
  • 2017 -  Life and Work Award 2017 by the Portuguese Society of Authors
  • 2014 - Grand Prize for Excellence at the Transylvania International Book Festival
  • 2008 - Premio FIL de Literatura en Lenguas Romances (FIL Guadalajara)
  • 2008 - Prémio Clube Literário do Porto
  • 2008 - Premio Juan Rulfo
  • 2008 - Premio Terenci Moix
  • 2008 - Prémio José Donoso
  • 2007 - Prémio Camões
  • 2005 - Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society Literary Award
  • 2005 - Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society Literary Award
  • 2004 - Prémio Fernando Namora
  • 2003 - Prémio Ovídio da União dos Escritores Romenos
  • 2003 - Prémio União Latina
  • 2000 - Austrian State Prize for European Literature