Yesterday I sent a new proposal to my editor, to make yet another book after this one, about African literature written in Portuguese. He answered me by a kind of conditional yes. I think I could do it.
I've been reading Mia Couto all day, a confissão da leoa. I never had excessive respect for the writer, before, but the book is hallucinatory, sticking to mind, like Chraibi, years ago, or more. It is a recent book, published in 2012, free from irritating habits of the constant passivum in Mia Couto's earlier books, that I've always judged to be just the cheapest way to make things sound African. Here he enters quite a different game, introducing the kind of soulless bombastic colonial Portuguese in some parts of the text: os caçadores deslocaram-se da capital, etc. porque começaram a ocorrer ataques de leões a pessoas. Many things are reused in a new configuration, such as the emergence of literacy, and a kind of native intellectual that keeps the memory of those who have been taken to São Tomé. I´ve written about it already, and I could write about it again. But I can have no doubt about the power of this narration, I feel it on me, with all the universal value of the fable on men and lions, or rather, the women and lionesses.
I wonder where does this power come from, is it the earth, or it resides on the frontiers of humanity, where nothing is left to run short of? This guy is as Portuguese as those here, just the same as Lobo Antunes, trying, after all, to speak about the very same problem of women. Oh, I was clever with Lobo Antunes, I gave him such a great excuse in my book... I wrote about his novel Da natureza dos deuses, that I literally couldn't read, that he returns to the problem of reading, just like Cortázar in La Rayuela: the confession of the Lady cannot be read, neither written nor spoken, nobody can get through it, and the phrase Diz que és a minha cabra and Diz que es a minha cadela must reappear several hundred times just to make the reader think how many times those things must have been pronounced over the 38 years the Lady was married, and this is and anti-psychoanalytical work, because the speech is demised of its curative powers, and after those 500 dismal pages nothing is said, nothing done, and... And this is the great advancement and great discovery, and in the 90ties people talked Lobo Antunes might have the Nobel that finally was given to Saramago.
Gosh, the hell be upon me.
And here is the confession of the lioness, and I could also write about this literature, a real literature, the living one, even if I don't have excessive respect for this writer in particular. But there is the voice of the earth, and the extremes of humanity, and this is the least I could do...