Czech Readers Meet António Lobos Antunes
"This is a country with the smallest number of my translations. As far as I know, only two of my books have been published here. This is ideal, because nobody knows me here. It's quite the contrary of what you might think - it's a truly great and relaxed feeling, " one of Portugal's foremost contemporary writers, the seventy-six years old António Lobo Antunes, said on Saturday afternoon.
The author of twenty eight novels came to introduce the Czech translation of his book The Return of the Caravels, originally published in 1988. To make the readers better understand the context and inspiration for his work, he used a captivating monologue to present a summary of his dramatic life - the life of one of the eight sons of a prominent Portuguese family, who even as a child wanted to become a writer but whose father made him study psychiatry. Until the Carnation Revolution of 1974 he felt traumatised by not being able to stand up the inhumane nature of the dictatorship that held his country in its grip since 1926. In 1971 this trauma had led him to the Angolan war as a military doctor and in his books he is coming to terms with the experience to this date. This is also true of the Return of the Caravels, even though Antunes wrote the novel in a substantially different environment of the liberated Portugal and in the position of a respected writer, which he had become despite the resistance of his elitist family.