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Rui Cardoso Martins

Rui Cardoso Martins

Rui Cardoso Martins is a Portuguese writer whose works include long and short fiction, screenplays, TV comedy shows (including a popular puppetry series of political satire) and award-winning journalism. Born in Portalegre in 1967, he published his first novel in 2006. E se eu gostasse muito de morrer (And what if I was very happy to die) is the story of a suicide epidemic in the Alentejo. Deixem passar o homem invisível is his prize-winning second novel. Though the novels have been published in translation into other European languages, very little of his fiction has appeared in English.

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Deixem passar o homem invisível (Let The Invisible Man Go By)

There’s a great crash, the pavement implodes, mud splatters up like clumps of mushy gruel, a big hole opens in the ground of Lisbon, and António and the boy he’s carrying vanish…

The book begins with a terrific storm scene – fierce rains and violent winds are battering Lisbon. When the weather settles, the people find their beloved city has acquired a new landmark – a large hole has appeared just by the church of São Sebastião da Pedreira. A blind lawyer and an eight-year-old boy have disappeared down the hole, and the novel follows their subterranean journey across the city. Meanwhile up on the surface frantic efforts are being made to find them and we’re introduced to the story of an illusionist called Serip which turns out to be connected with the lawyer’s own story. Filled with surprises, this slim book follows the inventive journey of two finely-drawn protagonists as they set off from a more than unusual set-up. This is an energetic and quirky tale that’s not quite like anything you’ve read before.

Recommended by Daniel Hahn (translator, writer and acting Co-Director of the British Centre for Literary Translation)

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One Comment

  1. Beth says:

    Beautifully written with humour and intelligence. The storm scene in the first chapter is tremendous. I loved the imagery – cars as beached whales, pipes vomiting water in a decadent party – and the pace of it really draws you into the book. I enjoyed the reminder that the forces of nature (or fate) are much more powerful than mere humans and our GPS gadgets! The ending is thought-provoking and not what I expected. All in all, a great read.

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