LITERATURE

Lisbon Tales

Oxford Univ. (City Tales). Jul. 2019. 256p. ed. by ed. by Helen Constantine. bibliog. ISBN 9780198801078. pap. $17.95. LIT
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This latest title in Oxford’s “City Tales” series, preceded by, among others, Rome, Berlin, and Paris, evokes a city’s historical and cultural ambience through selected works of that nation’s authors. The stories, presented chronologically, include short fiction and selections from memoirs, travel narratives, and blogs. Some Portuguese authors will be familiar; others, though more obscure, are ripe for recognition. Among the former, we might follow José Saramago in his historical and monumental city tour (Walking in Lisbon) or be lured by the chapter from Eça de Queiróz’s Alves & Co to dive into the entire novel and discover the outcome of the impending duel. In Mario Dionísio’s The Whistler, we hop a tram wherein a passenger’s unexpected tuneful whistling makes for a memorable ride; and in Helia Correia’s Metro Zoo, an aging prostitute, tending to a basic animal compulsion, feels more freedom than the animals in the nearby zoo or their human urban counterpart.
VERDICT A slice of Lisbon to form a tantalizing tart of tales.

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