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Tales and More Tales from the Mountain
Translated by Ivana Carlsen
Categories: Portuguese, Translation
Imprint: Aspects of Portugal
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (232 pages)
(Pub. Sep 1996)
`His poems move in service of the loved landscapes of England and France; they sing (and growl) in love of argument, in love of seeing throuugh, in love of the firm descriptions of moral self-disgust; they move in love of the old lost life by which the new life is condemned.'
Donald Hall, New York Times Book Review
Miguel Torga's celebrated Tales (Contos and Novos Contos de Montanha) are set in the remote and barren Tras-os-Montos-'over the mountains'-region of north-east Portugal. There the writer was born into a family of illiterate country people. He speaks with first-hand knowledge of the men and women living there - complex in emotion and thought, elusive and thrifty with words, direct in action, forced by circumstance to deal with matters of love and hate, life and death, without the comfortable illusions and material expectations that protect most people, even the urban poor.
These tautly constructed tales, brief and telling, exactly observed, touch and haunt the reader in the ways that myth and epic do.
Torga's disconcerting view of rural life led to the banning of the Tales when they were first published. Later editions were published in Brazil, smuggled into Portugal and passed from hand to hand in literary and student circles. Torga was imprisoned for his unremitting opposition to the Salazar regime. He has since risen to an unrivalled position in modern Portuguese literature, with fifty published works to his credit, including poetry, fiction, plays, journals, essays, and a celebrated autobiography. He has received numerous international awards, twice been nominated for the Nobel Prize, and his work has been translated into most languages.
Yet hardly at all, until now, into English. This is the first complete edition of the Tales to appear in translation here as one of the first three books in Carcanet's new series From the Portuguese.
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