Tabucchi's self portrait Requiem takes the reader on a hallucinating trip in Portugal where the narrator waits for someone in scorching heat on last Sunday of July month, as the day progresses, he goes on to have several encounters with different sorts of people- some may be real, some may be not-to eventually meet the ghost of dead great poet- perhaps Fernando Pessoa, whose works Tabucchi, a champion of Portuguese literature, has translated, to discuss Kafka, postmodernism and the future of literature.
Either journal or uncanny experience, Tabucchi has a mission to accomplish in Lisbon. Memories and phantoms merge in a twelve hours half momentous journey, half delusional trance, in which a lifetime is relentlessly compressed and dilated and past and present commingle to reciprocally give meaning to each other. Dead meet the living in the motionless crevice filled with the absence of time paying homage to the soul of Lisbon, the quintessential city where poets and mementoes smile from the other shore of the river of life. 21) Lets descend to the oldest river in the world where every fractal billow acts as a mirror creating fragmented works of art in the form of self portraits in which one discovers hidden gospel truths when looking at the reflection of anothers consciousness.
and strange things happen in life Indeed. How to describe this inconspicuous book, this strange dream-like journey through shimmering in the heat city?
The ability to quickly enter another world with an open mind, she began her list. I slid the fare into the slot taking the returned ticket to the uniformed guard by the entrance gate. Once, I had been to Tabucchi Land Theme Park. Then, I stepped into a phantasm of the unknown appearing as the every day. Using swift movements of their torsos, flash of shoulders and hands whipping into dazzled contortions their phantasm through the use of well placed specifics rendering it believable, partook of the world of the commonplace without a hitch. Moving on into a corridor, doors to be opened and closed lined the plastered walls leading to staircases winding up and downward. Each door opened onto a room. The door was locked, the phantasm quietly setting into place. A door painted the same white as the splitting walls opened and a man appeared with two drinks. When finished he directed me to another door. To an opening, the din reshuffled into voices of tears, sobs, mutterings convoluted. I followed the path, patrons on both sides of me, the bitter-sweet smiles, handkerchiefs dabbing at moist eyes, pats on the back encouraging me on. The exit gate opened for me.
The Emptiness of Literature: "Requiem - A Hallucination" by Antonio Tabucchi, Margaret Jull Costa (translator) Were someone to ask me why I wrote this story in Portuguese, I would answer simply that a story like this could only be written in Portuguese; it's as simple as that. In Requiem by Antonio Tabucchi Affection and reflection: with these two words, Tabucchi defined his book better than any reviewer would be able to.
It comes as no surprise then when the waiter at the restaurant says Tonight we have a literary menu. Where we bring our characters with us, like a magnet dragging filings.
Silence has reigned for several minutes as you have let the port tell its story. In the course of the day, we travel with our unnamed narrator as he encounters: a junky in a park, and, against his own values, gives the young man some money; a taxi driver who does not know his way around Lisbon. Our narrator now takes us through the rest of his day as he encounters: a cemetery keeper who has trouble seeing because he has a cataplasm; the ghost of a former friend, Tadeus; the ghost of Tadeuss former lover, who has apparently died by her own hand. The ghost wants to know how he died, so our narrator explains his death from ... Of course, the ghost of Fernando Pessoa. (If you have the patience to read it, you should ask me for my story of my encounters with the ghost of Pessoa back then. But not today.) Now, to be honest, Pessoa is never named, but who else would Tabucchi, a Lusophile, like myself go to all of this trouble for on such an unbearable hot day in July in Lisbon. And check out this exchange between the ghost/Guest and the narrator: Did my company displease you? he ghost/Guest asked. No, I narrator said, it was very important to me, but it troubled me, lets just say that you had a disquieting effect on me. If I havent persuaded you to read the book yet, I might add that there is a great deal of discussion of food in this book. Read the book, with a fine port, of course.
So far I'm not a big fan of Jose Saramago, but his The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis (concerning one of Pessoa's key pseudonymic alter-egos) is also brilliant, and for many of the same reasons as this is - funny, sad, playful, otherworldly, with a vivid sense of Lisbon as a setting. For whatever reason, Pessoa clearly fascinates Tabucchi, and it will help your understanding of Requiem if he fascinates you too. When I first read this novella roughly 15 years ago I knew nothing of Pessoa, and though the atmosphere stayed with me I found it too cryptic.