Susana Moreira Marques

Now and at the Hour of Our Death

A nurse sleeps at the bedside of his dying patients; a wife deceives her husband by never telling him he has cancer; a bedridden man has to be hidden from his demented and amorous eighty-year-old wife. In her poignant and genre-busting debut, Susana Moreira Marques confronts us with our own mortality and inspires us to think about what is important.

Accompanying a palliative care team, Moreira Marques travelled to Trás-os-Montes, a forgotten corner of northern Portugal, a rural area abandoned by the young. Crossing great distances where eagles circle over the roads, she visits villages where rural ways of life are disappearing. She listens to families facing death and gives us their stories in their words as well as through her own meditations.

Brilliantly blending the immediacy of oral history with the sensibility of philosophical reportage, Moreira Marques’ book speaks about death in a fresh way.

Read an Excerpt
Paperback: £8.99 £7.49
EBook: £5.00

More Info

  • Read more about Susanna Moreira Marques in our authors’ page.
  • If you had subscribed to And Other Stories before Now and at the Hour of Our Death went to print, you would have received the first edition of the book – in which all subscribers are thanked by name – before its official publication, as well us up to five other And Other Stories titles per year. Find out about subscribing to upcoming titles here.
  • Now and at the Hour of Our Death (original title: Agora e na hora da nossa morte) was discovered after being read in our autumn 2013 Portuguese reading group. Although our reading groups tend to throw up strong disagreement about books, this book was universally adored. Thank goodness, because we love it!
  • This book was translated by Julia Sanches, who was chosen as a translator after winning our Birkbeck University of London / And Other Stories 2013 sample translation competition in the Portuguese category. Read Julia Sanches’ short piece about the book on our Ampersand blog.
  • Listen to Susanna Moreira Marques discuss grief and Now and at the Hour of Our Death for BBC World Service.
  • You can also read appetite-whetting excerpts from the book at The Offing (LARB), Tin House and Words without Borders.
Print status: Available
Original language: Portuguese
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date: 3 September 2015
ISBN: 9781908276629
Ebook ISBN: 9781908276636
Availability: World

Reviews

Leslie Jamison

‘Raymond Carver once wrote about loving everything that increases me. This book increased me. It is fearless and luminous and full of grace; it travels to the edge of death and finds life there. Its attention to the particulars of love—between the ones who will go and the ones they will leave—is something close to sublime.’ See The New York Times for more.

Gavin Francis, author of Adventures in Human Being

‘A tender, lyrical and intimate meditation on death and bereavement, examining dispossession, the fury of grief and the end we all will face.  Now and at the Hour of our Death is written with great compassion, and with the economy and precision usually reserved for poetry.’

Iona Heath, author of Matters of Life and Death: Key Writings

‘The writing of Susana Moreira Marques has the quiet intensity and the transformative power of poetry. She describes, in tender detail, the dying of people and the slow dying of a remote rural community, the one superimposed on the other.’

Anne Karpf, author of How to Age

‘Moreira Marques has the ability to evoke an entire lifespan in a few words or sentences, summoning an individual through a brief experience, event or gesture . . . Her great achievement is to situate dying so squarely within life itself. She liberates death and dying back into the messy business of living.’