Thursday, May 13, 2010
Unfortunately, I became quite busy around the same time, as there were a lot of things going on in my now-former job that kept me from getting around to discussing these books like I would have liked. I wish I had time to do a second reading before commenting, as my Portuguese, improved as it is, is still not as good as my Spanish. But I had delayed too much in writing at least a short bit, so here goes.
Lisboa Triunfante, the other Soares novel that I received, relies more upon the reader being aware of Portuguese history (thankfully, I have at least the required cursory knowledge). The story is in equal parts a centuries-spanning romance and a detailed look at the history of Lisbon, from the pre-Roman days to the present. Although I didn't have as strong of a historical knowledge as I would have wished, Soares made both the historical layers of Lisbon and his characters interesting to read. Although I struggled a bit with the prose (my fault, since my reading comprehension in Portuguese is not at near-native levels, like it is with Spanish), I am also looking forward to re-reading this one soon as well.
Based on what I've read, I believe there would be a market in English translation for these novels, especially the first one. Although the references to Portuguese history and literature might create a barrier for many readers, I suspect that barrier could also serve to make the setting and characters more exotic, making these novels appealing to those readers who enjoy cross-genre works that are neither fish nor fowl, but something enjoyable in-between.