Dangerous books are rarely encountered in one’s literary life. I can say that the Book of Disquiet is the most dangerous book I have ever read. It nails you down, and it can wipe away all the joy in you. However, it can also give unpredictable happiness for souls who prefer loneliness like me most of the time. And that is the dangerous part.
The Book of Disquiet is not a book that you can read without stopping. It will stand at least once on your coffee table, on your kitchen counter, near your pillow, on the dining table, wherever a book can be placed. Sometimes you will never want to read it. Nevertheless, you will turn back to it and shuffle the pages. It will catch your eye until you continue reading it. You will lose count on the quotations you want to keep.
The Book of Disquiet is a book that must be present at home. When you do not know what to feel or when you feel lost, it will be useful. Pessoa will show you on the very first pages of what it will bring you. You will either love it or will not be able to get your mind off of it.
Finally, there is a joke in Portuguese literature; Who are the four greatest Portuguese poets of the 20th century? A. Fernando Pessoa. When you do some research on his works, you will understand why.
The Book of Disquiet
Sitting at his desk, Bernardo Soares imagined himself free forever of Rua dos Douradores, of his boss Vasques, of Moreira the book-keeper, of all the other employees, the errand boy, the post boy, even the cat. But if he left them all tomorrow and discarded the suit of clothes he wears, what else would he do? Because he would have to do something. And what suit would he wear? Because he would have to wear another suit.
A self-deprecating reflection on the sheer distance between the loftiness of his feelings and the humdrum reality of his life, The Book of Disquiet is a classic of existentialist literature.
Fernando António Nogueira Pessoa was a Portuguese poet, writer, literary critic, translator, publisher and philosopher, described as one of the most significant literary figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest poets in the Portuguese language. He also wrote in and translated from English and French.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: