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Pereira Maintains Audio Download – Unabridged

4.5 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 5 hours and 33 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Canongate Books
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 12 Aug. 2011
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005H2M4IC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This novel has been described as a literary page turner and having read it I agree totally with that statement. It is immediately obvious why the novel is called 'Pereira maintains' although the reason why this should be so is left ambiguous at the end of the story. Despite the lead character's apparent political naiveté, which seems odd given that he was a crime reporter for thirty years, you do empathise with his situation. In many ways Dr Peirera's own lack of poltical awareness is a reflection of wider Portuguese society in the late 1930s which was very much a dark period in the history of Portugal. This is a world you are drawn into because of the author's skilful writing - in terms of his prose style and storytelling. Both sad and uplifting this is undoubtedly one of the very best novels I've read in recent years.
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By elkiedee VINE VOICE on 31 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover
This short novel by the Italian writer Antonio Tabucchi is set in Lisbon, Portugal in 1938. Salazar's government at the time was sympathetic to fascism, as represented by Mussolini's regime in Italy and General Franco's forces in the Spanish Civil War.

Pereira is a journalist working for a small evening paper and has been asked to set up a culture section. He does not think of himself as particularly political, just a man getting on with a rather dull, unsatisfying job and mourning his dead wife. Maybe he can promote the literature and values he loves without causing any trouble in his new position - he translates a 19th century Balzac story from French for inclusion in the paper.

Then he reads an article by a young man and offers him work, a decision which is going to shake up his life. Monteiro Rossi turns out to be totally set on writing unprintably subversive articles extolling the revolutionary political views of his heroes. Pereira is soon introduced to his attractive and fiercely opinionated girlfriend Marta.

Pereira quickly finds himself committed to supporting these young dissidents and their views, whatever the cost to him. The story is told using the phrase "Pereira maintains" several times on each page - he is trying to explain what happened, as if he was sucked in despite himself.

There is a lot to think about within this book, and it has made me want to find out more about Portuguese history, in the context of Europe in 1938 and the looming war for or against fascism. Pereira has been trying not to take sides, but in the story he feels compelled to take the side of what he feels is right, at any cost.
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Format: Paperback
This novel demonstrates why my previous policy of avoiding novels translated into English is a mistake. In the same way, to assume that such a short, very readable novel must be lightweight is another error.

Impeccably translated from Italian, this subtly humorous story with a growing underlying sense of menace captures Lisbon in the summer heat of 1938, as Portugal slides into fascist dictatorship on the coattails of its aggressive neighbour, Spain, under the influence of Franco.

Punctuated with the refrain, "Pereira maintains", this is the testimony of a journalist employed in a sinecure to produce the new weekly cultural page for a small newspaper, "The Lisboa". Sunk into a dull routine, overweight and unhealthy, Pereira's life revolves around eating "omelettes aux fines herbes", drinking sugary lemonade at the Cafe Orchidea, and communing with a photograph of his dead wife.

Since he is a humane man with principles, he is gradually forced out of his ostrichlike state by the examples of repression which become increasingly hard to ignore. A carter is murdered by the police for being a socialist, but staff on "The Lisboa" are too scared to report the story in the boss's absence: information on the real state of affairs has to be gleaned from listening to the BBC or obtaining a foreign newspaper. An attractive woman whom Pereira meets on a train confides that she is planning emigration to the US, because she is Jewish. The office telephone system is altered without warning so that all calls come through the nosy female caretaker, clearly a police spy.
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Format: Paperback
Set in pre-war Portugal, Pereira Maintains is about Dr Pereira, editor of the culture pages of a mediocre weekly newspaper, ageing and lonely and struggeling with his health. By a series of coincidences he meets Monteiro Rossi, a young man on the edge of the Spanish resistance movement against Franco. The times are tense, Europe is about to erupt into a bloody war and these are not the times to be associated with young vagrants with doubtful political affiliations. Yet Pereira find himself drawn to Rossi and his friends, an attraction which will eventually lead this little story to a brave and dramatic conclusion.

This is a small book which might feel slow and uneventful at times, but suspense it not Tabucchi's motive. It is a hearbreaking glimpse into Dr Preira's life where we get a very human perspective of the choices he makes. We meet a man who, at the tail end of his life, is desperately lonely since his wife died. He is mourning for the children they never had and dreaming wonderful dreams of his youth while his overweight body slowly lets him down. Pereira is a lost, weak and vulnerable old man.

The narration is unique - it reads alost like a witness statement. The phrase 'Pereira maintains' is repeated throughout this book, giving us the sense that he is being pressed on the accuracy of his account. At the same time, it has a finicky, tentative tone of an old man. It pays attention to the weather and what he is eating, how he sleeps - all things an old man would be concerned with. It fits Pereira perfectly - He is hesitant and timid, he prioretizes his comfort and is startled by small changes in his routine. It is a perfect process of character creation, which makes his final act of rebellion even more impressive.

This book has a slow build and a quick finish - As long as you take it for what it is, and as long as you are not expecting a fast-paced political thriller, there is no reason why you shouldn't enjoy this book as much as I did.
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