José Luís Peixoto

José Luís Peixoto photo

José Luis Peixoto was born in 1974 in a small village in the Alentejo region. He has written over ten works of literature – fiction, poetry and plays – as well as writing literary journalism and song lyrics for bands. In 2001, he won the José Saramago Prize with his novel Nenhum Olhar (Blank Gaze).

Blank Gaze was his first novel published in English and was selected by the Financial Times as one of their best books of 2007. The Piano Cemetery followed in English at the end of 2010. His recent novel Livro (Book) went straight to the top of the bestseller lists in Portugal upon publication in September 2010.

Featured Reading Group Title

Livro (Book)

A little boy is left at a fountain by his mother. Before she goes, she gives him a book and promises to return within a few hours. She abandons him and goes to France, following the path of so many other Portuguese emigrants. The boy is brought up by a family in the rural village and never hears from his mother again. He grows up and falls in love with a local girl. She reciprocates his feelings. Once they come of age, both decide to emigrate to France, but they each leave on their own.

The book is the only object of value that the boy has ever possessed. It will keep the two of them connected and bring them together again.

More Information

  • Livro was featured in our summer 2012 Portugese reading group.
  • José Luis Peixoto has been a guest author at the British Centre for Literary Translation summer school and was the featured author in the December 2010 issue of The Warwick Review.
  • Daniel Hahn’s translation [download id=”52″] is available to download for free.
  • If you’ve read the book or translated extract, let us know what you think by commenting below.

One Comment

  1. Apart from reading other delicate work at the UEA summer school when I was there, and being a very nice young man…

    This intimate work is right up my street, an interior world portrayed where I as read can take my part in the story, feel some engagement. It’s only the first pages but “Livro” also has the feel of a work which is crafted, which has a form, rather than something tossed together inconsequentially and with only the noise of words to speak for it. Definitely my kind of text, this.

    I’d go on reading (and perhaps will).


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