Vergílio Ferreira (1916-1997) is one of the greatest writers in the Portuguese language of the last century. As a teenager, he studied in a seminary and later attended the University of Coimbra. His experiences in the seminary are narrated in his most famous work Manhã Submersa (Misty Morning), published in 1953 and made into a film in 1980. He worked most of his life as a teacher in several places around Portugal and received prestigious awards such as the Femina Prize in France (1990), the Europália Prize (1991), and the Camões Prize (1992).
Em nome da terra (In the Name of the Earth)
The book, originally published in 1991, is one of Ferreira’s last and most accomplished novels. In it, he explores themes of love, loss, and old age. Written in the form of a letter to his dead wife, Mónica, the main character is a retired judge living at a rest home. Despite the atmosphere of decrepitude surrounding him, he clings to life as he writes to his dead wife, interspersing passionate memories of their life together with present reflections on his failing body, as well as episodes at the rest home where his children have left him to ‘rot’.
- This title features as part of our spring 2014 Portuguese reading group.