Like his creator, the narrator of this novel is a psychiatrist who loathes psychiatry, a veteran of the despised 1970s colonial war waged by Portugal against Angola, a survivor of a failed marriage, and a man seeking meaning in an uncaring and venal society. The reader joins Antunes on a journey both real and phantasmagorical as he travels by car from a vacation in the Algarve back to his hated work as a psychiatrist at a Lisbon mental institution. In the course of one long day and evening, he carries on an imaginary conversation with his daughter Joanna, observes with surreal vision the bleak countryside of his nation, recalls the horrors of his involuntary role in the suppression of Angolan independence, and curses the charlatanism of contemporary psychiatric "advances" that destroy rather than heal.
A literary relative of W.G. Sebald's masterly AUSTERLITZ, Antonio Lobo Antunes's KNOWLEDGE OF HELL uses a lyrical and ruminative prose style to create a layered novel that explores the nature of memory, the cruelties of war, and the illnesses of the human mind. The autobiographical novel (the main character is also named Antonio Lobo Antunes) is a Portuguese psychiatrist who spent many years in colonial Angola during the 1970s serving as a doctor in a mental institution and witnessing the ravages of war.
- Fiction + Literature Themes, Fiction + Literature Genres, Juvenile Fiction
- Literary, War + Military, Medicine + Health, Psychology, Peoples + Cultures, Literary Genres + Types of Novels, Types of Characters, General, Health + Daily Living / General
- Dalkey Archive Pr
- March 18, 2008
- March 18, 2008
- Antonio Lobo Antunes