O Tamanho do Mundo

O Tamanho do Mundo / The Size of the World

Novel , 2022

Dom Quixote

Pages: 288

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