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Dreams of Dreams and the Last Three Days of Fernan [Paperback]

Antonio Tabucchi , Nancy J. Peters
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 1 2001 City Lights Italian Voices
A City Lights / Italian Voices Book

"Elaborately imagined… mini-catalog of great artists' dreams and the author's interpretation of the last three days in the life of Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. Tabucchi's rich language and his magical-realist charm tinge the volume with a visionary glow."- 'Publishers Weekly'

" A lovely little book that keeps ringing in your head long after you've finished it."- 'Kirkus'

Chapter OneDREAM OF DAEDALUS,
ARCHITECT AND AVIATOR One night, thousands of years ago, at a time impossible to calculate exactly, Daedalus, architect and aviator, had a dream.He dreamed that he was deep inside an immense palace and he was going through a corridor. The corridor opened into another corridor and Daedalus, tired and confused, walked along it, leaning on the walls. When he had come to the end, the corridor opened into a small octagonal room, from which eight corridors branched out. Daedalus began to feel short of breath and a need for fresh air. He entered one corridor, but it ended against a wall. He went into another, but it too ended against a wall.Seven times Daedalus made an attempt until, on the eighth attempt, he entered a very long corridor that, after a series of curves and corners, led out into another corridor. Daedalus then sat down on a marble step and began to reflect. On the corridor walls were flaming torches that illuminated frescoes blue with birds and flowers.I'm the only one who could know how to get out of here, Daedalus said to himself, and I don't remember. He took off his sandals and began to walk barefoot on the green marble floor.To console himself, he began to sing an ancient dirge he had learned from an old servant who had rocked his infant cradle. The arcades of the long corridor carried his voice back to him ten times over.I'm the only one who could know how to get out of here, said Daedalus, and I don't remember.At that moment, he came out into a wide, circular room frescoed with absurd landscapes. He remembered that room but he couldn't remember why he remembered it. There were seats covered with luxurious fabrics and, in the middle of the room, a large bed. On the edge of the bed was seated

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Elaborately imagined, though often straining for effect, popular Italian novelist Tabucchi's (Pereira Declares) new offering is both a mini-catalogue of great artists' dreams and the author's interpretation of the last three days in the life of Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. Some of the dreamers Tabucchi chooses to conjure up include Greek architect Daedalus; Carlo Collodi, author of Pinocchio; painter Caravaggio; poet Arthur Rimbaud; composer Debussy; and the father of dream analysis, Sigmund Freud. At their best, these short reveries center around memorable, jewellike details. In some cases, the glimpses into the dream lives of these figures are arresting: Daedalus teaches a Minotaur trapped in a maze on his Greek island how to fly; Rimbaud wanders the French countryside with his own amputated leg under his arm, wrapped in a newspaper printed with his poems. Other narratives fizzle, merely embellishing famous scenarios from the subjects' lives or works: Collodi dreams that he is swallowed by a huge shark (a whale in the original tale), as was his wooden hero; Freud imagines that he has become his own most famous patient, Dora, in an episode more farcical than epiphanic. The recreation of Pessoa's last days is a more complex and successful narrative. All of the alternate poetic personae the poet ever createdAincluding Antonio Mora, a mad philosopher; shy accountant Bernardo Soares; and the monarchist doctor, Ricardo ReisAvisit him on his deathbed. Through these conversations with his own multiple personalities, the poet at last achieves peace. Although some episodes are weaker than others, Tabucchi's rich language and his magical-realist charm tinge the volume with a visionary glow. (July)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Two fetchingly lyrical short works by the Borges-like Italian author of Pereira Declares (1996), etc. The Last Three Days of Fernando Pessoa: A Delirium (1994) is an elegant threnody describing the great Portuguese poet's approach to death as a meditative series of meetings with his heteronyms (fictional alter egos) and reflections on his political and aesthetic ideals. Dreams of Dreams (1992) offers the imaginary dreams of eminent writers, artists, composers, and fictional and mythological characters. Coleridge's albatross, Collodi's Gepetto, and Rabelais's Pantagruel, for instance, are creations first encountered in dreams; others subtly express such salient personal traits as Chekhov's compassion and Robert Louis Stevenson's quiet fortitude; and, in Tabucchi's wittiest single invention, Daedalus affixes waxen wings to the Minotaur, liberating that creature from his maze, and inspiring a later, less successful flight. A lovely little book that keeps on ringing in your head long after you've finished it. -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Name-dropping is no substitute for creativity Oct. 5 2001
Format:Paperback
I was very disappointed by the Tabucchi's Dreams. The author attempts to recreate the dreams of twenty or so canonical figures from Western civilization. I felt that author made no effort to penetrate the psyche of these great human beings. The dreams were recreated by an obviously shallow reading of bio-sketches. If you want to know what I mean, select one of the characters you know very well and read his dream. I am familiar with Debussy's music and have no qualms about suggesting that Debussy's dream is a mediocre parody of his "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun".
The same problems persist in the Last Three Days of Fernando Pessoa. This short work offended me more than the Dreams. I adore Pessoa and his poetry. It was heartbreaking to see all his heteronyms turn into colorless characters that stroll through this story. I consider Ricardo Reis to be the heteronym closest to Pessoa's personality. Unfortunately Reis comes back to the dying Pessoa to tell him that he didn't leave Portugal. Am I missing something here?? In short, any average reader of Pessoa can write a better book on the confrontations of the heteronyms with their creator.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another masterpiece from Antonio Tabucchi May 25 2000
Format:Paperback
This book is a collection of short stories of dreams of various major artists or influences on the arts - from Daedalus to Freud. It is a book that makes me wish to be more broadly educated in European literature - for when I was familiar with the biography and works of the individual, the matching of the imagined dream to the individual was more clear. For example, the dream of Federico Garcia Lorca picks up on his work regarding deepsong. Lorca is on stage singing a Gypsy song "a song about duels and orange groses, passion and death" ... A small black dog leads him towards his death as a traitor ... The dream is a wonderful mix of clarity and chaotic jumps, as are real dreams.
Tabucchi writes in his normal taut prose - with wonderful lines to mull over: "Life is indecipherable, answered Pessoa. Never ask and never believe. Everything is hidden."
But this book, unlike his other works requires significant knowledge of his reader. If you've never read Tabucchi, I would suggest that you begin with any of his other books. If you are a Tabucchi fan, this new book will not disappoint you.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another masterpiece from Antonio Tabucchi May 25 2000
By M. J. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a collection of short stories of dreams of various major artists or influences on the arts - from Daedalus to Freud. It is a book that makes me wish to be more broadly educated in European literature - for when I was familiar with the biography and works of the individual, the matching of the imagined dream to the individual was more clear. For example, the dream of Federico Garcia Lorca picks up on his work regarding deepsong. Lorca is on stage singing a Gypsy song "a song about duels and orange groses, passion and death" ... A small black dog leads him towards his death as a traitor ... The dream is a wonderful mix of clarity and chaotic jumps, as are real dreams.
Tabucchi writes in his normal taut prose - with wonderful lines to mull over: "Life is indecipherable, answered Pessoa. Never ask and never believe. Everything is hidden."
But this book, unlike his other works requires significant knowledge of his reader. If you've never read Tabucchi, I would suggest that you begin with any of his other books. If you are a Tabucchi fan, this new book will not disappoint you.
3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Name-dropping is no substitute for creativity Oct. 5 2001
By musicandarts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I was very disappointed by the Tabucchi's Dreams. The author attempts to recreate the dreams of twenty or so canonical figures from Western civilization. I felt that author made no effort to penetrate the psyche of these great human beings. The dreams were recreated by an obviously shallow reading of bio-sketches. If you want to know what I mean, select one of the characters you know very well and read his dream. I am familiar with Debussy's music and have no qualms about suggesting that Debussy's dream is a mediocre parody of his "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun".
The same problems persist in the Last Three Days of Fernando Pessoa. This short work offended me more than the Dreams. I adore Pessoa and his poetry. It was heartbreaking to see all his heteronyms turn into colorless characters that stroll through this story. I consider Ricardo Reis to be the heteronym closest to Pessoa's personality. Unfortunately Reis comes back to the dying Pessoa to tell him that he didn't leave Portugal. Am I missing something here?? In short, any average reader of Pessoa can write a better book on the confrontations of the heteronyms with their creator.
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