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Sophia's World (and three more books not to be missed)

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Sophia's World (and three more books not to be missed)

He says this biography is almost a boldness. Because?

Eduardo Lourenço, in one of the fifty or so testimonies I collected for this biography, told me that people did not dare to explore Sophia's world because of its social status, and thus wanted to offer an explanation for the fact that there was no no biography of such a read and admired author. The idea that it is "daring" to write about something is always appealing to a journalist. But what was most important in making the decision to make the poet's biography had to do with the fact that it was needed. There were none and that seemed almost absurd.

There is one important word that you use at one point to describe Sofia's literary heritage: ethics. Because?

That's for me one of the main reasons Sophia continues to be so read over 70 years after she published her first book, Poetry. If we think about what Portugal and the world have changed at this time, it is an extraordinary achievement. I think the ethical sense you have given your work – both intervention poems and children's stories – has made it a reference. Someone we should read to help us decide the right course.

This book is like a pilgrimage through the writer's universe, for which the physical places were very important. Was there any surprising discovery?

To biography Sophia, I wrote a report in Granja, Porto, in the Graça neighborhood, in Lisbon, in the Algarve, in Greece, and in the small island of Föhr, in the North Sea. Everywhere was fundamental because a biography is a kind of puzzle that is being assembled. First with a general frame that gives us a frame and then looking for very specific pieces. Sometimes they even seem insignificant, but without them the puzzle is not complete. In this sense, the report on Föhr was the most striking. Because although Sophia never went to the island from which great-grandfather Andresen left on a ship to dock in Portugal, knowing this place was very important. Less obvious, it has nonetheless become essential to understanding the poet and his view of the world.

He says that Sophia would probably not authorize this biography. How would you describe the woman?

Sophia was an attentive and distracted woman at the same time. Attentive to what mattered to him and which he considered to be truly important – the beauty, the words, the world around him – and unaware of everyday things. He was late, distracted. Some saw it as a kind of absence from the world. But the truth is that Sophia was a poet of the real who spoke of what was before her. Whether it was the atrocities of the Salazar dictatorship against which she wrote and spoke, or the sheer beauty of the Greek statues that made her visit the country (Greece) several times throughout her life.

Also don't miss:

The Cost of Living, Deborah Levy (Water Clock)

"Life goes downhill. We try to control ourselves and hold on. And then we realize that we don't want to hold on." After Things I Don't Want to Know, this is the second volume of a three-act autobiography. In it, the author – which The New York Times calls "indelible" and "elliptical genius" – explores areas ranging from philosophy to gender issues, always in her own name.

Trieste, by Daša Drndic (Sextant Publisher)

Behind each name is a story: it is the chapter that interrupts the narrative of this book to present the names of the approximately 9,000 deported or dead Jews in Italy between 1943 and 1945. Croatian prestigious author tells the story of a woman who, 62 years later, seeks her son who was stolen from her by the Nazi authorities.

40 years of the NHS, by Maria Elisa Domingues (Emergency Exit)

In the 40 years of the National Health Service (NHS), journalist Maria Elisa Domingues wrote the book in which the history of this great institution is told with rigor and detail. It is written, of course, about António Arnault, who made this achievement possible, not forgetting the other precursors, nor the achievements that make the NHS a reference of Portuguese democracy.

. (tagsToTranslate) Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen (t) Isabel Nery (t) writer (t) authors (t) books (t) journalist (t) biography (t) cultures (t) literature

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