In an early post, Fausta Cardoso Pereira has already described her experience in the attempt of having Sleep with Lisbon published in Portugal. But what is this book? Well, we can start by saying it won a Galician Award, The Antón Risco Award for Fantastic Literature. It is a fantastic read that can be compared to Michel Ajvaz’s The Other City, but with a very portuguese touch.
Without warning or visible reason, people start to disappear in Lisbon. They are getting swallowed in the streets. But the holes that take them disappear with them. There is no pattern for the places affected for this phenomenon. Or for the chosen people. Some live in the city. Some work there. Others are only passing by.
There is panic. The government is pressed into stopping the strange phenomenon. Several organizations unite into an emergency committee, but each has its own vision of the event and very different plans to control the situation. Some of them would lead to military interventions or dictatorship like measures.
The police seems to get no more information than the common citizen. No motives or reasons. But before each disappearance a very loud sound can be heard. A hole opens in the ground and the person disappears. Without family or friends to miss them, some disappearances go unnoticed and are only part of the statistic. Other are dearly missed by their families.
Lisbon is the stage of the phenomenon. But also the perpetrator. Without any other means of communication, the city express herself through several means, some of them that are not consciously perceived. Each person has her own vision of the city. A politician sees her has a mysterious young woman that can easily get away in the seduction dance. Others recognize an old patchworked lady as diverse as her neighborhoods.
Sleep with Lisbon delivers a dreamy and fantastic vision of the city. It his an old entity consisting of different remains from every century and nowadays presents a huge diversity. It is not homogeneous and shelters different loves and moods. The city can be perceived as sunny and cozy to those who are ready to be amazed, or cold and gloomy for those who pass in a hurry.
Sleep with Lisbon is, without a doubt, a great book by a Portuguese writer. Unfortunately it is not available through a Portuguese publisher and remains to be discovered by the wide public.