Domingos Amaral

Portugal

©Augusto Brázioweb

 

Domingos Freitas do Amaral was born in 1967 in Lisbon and studied Economics before taking a Masters in International Relations at Co-lumbia University in New York. Since then, he has been working as a journalist, writing for the O Independente weekly and Diário de Notícias daily newspapers, as well as for a number of magazines and broadcasters. He directed Maxmen magazine and is currently direc-tor for the Portuguese edition of GQ magazine. He also writes for the Diário Económico newspaper and Record newspaper.

 

Casa das Letras has published his fourth novel, Enquanto Salazar dormia (“While Salazar was sleeping”) to considerable success, now already in its fifth edition and on Portugal’s bestseller lists.

After years of research into the period of the Second World War in Portugal, the author gives Jack Gil Mascarenhas, a Portuguese-British spy, the chance to tell his memoirs. Fifty years on, the occasion is provided by a visit to Lisbon for his grandson’s wedding.

An atmosphere of adventure reigns under the Salazar regime as this officially neutral country on the edge of the Second World War becomes a place of safety for thousands of refugees. For many, it is their last hope to escape the Hitler regime into exile.

In 1941, shortly before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, the English and Germans in Lisbon move in parallel worlds. The city is populated by secret police, spies, desperate refugees and adventurers, While Salazar was sleeping, as Jack Gil’s friend Michael likes to add. Jack Gil is a ladies’ man, and it is the impressive, exciting and sometimes mysterious women in his life that are the linking thread that runs through his memories of the time. They are his comrades in political combats and free-spirited lovers. Little concerned by the suffocating Catholicism and traditionalism under Salazar, the foreigners have an exciting time beneath the tranquil surface of this city of many faces. This is all absorbingly and entertainingly told – and to top it all, with a cover taken from the film Casablanca. A genuine page-turner.

 

Já ninguém morre de amor (“No-one dies of love anymore”) opens with the protagonist, Salvador Palma Lobo, the last remaining member of the Palma Lobo clan, a landowning family from Portugal's Alentejo, who is dying of love, according to the narrator of this story, Salvador's best friend. A few months beforehand the narrator had received a request from Salvador to write down the history of the Palma Lobo family. – The research goes back to the end of the 19th century, when Roberto Antunes Palma Lobo founded the Angolan dynasty. The lives of Álvaro Palma and Jorge Palma Lobo, grandfather and father of Salvador, respectively, complete the family picture that ends with the life of Salvador himself.

The four characters have certain traits in common: they are womanisers, eccentrics, excessive, all afflicted with madness and tortured by the passions of love. The fictitious burial of a wife totally in love with another man, one of the protagonists who dies of a heart attack whilst fornicating with a peasant woman, the foundation of a dynasty that begins with an illegitimate son and countless tales of love and rejection take us through most of the Portuguese-speaking countries: Angola, Mozambique, Brazil, urban Portugal (Lisbon) and rural (Alentejo) which provide the backdrop for the family's adventures. The narrator's conclusion is clear cut, that possibly these days nobody dies of love, but the Palma Lobo family lived and died for it.

 

An extraordinarily well-structured and coherent romance that progresses in an orderly manner with compelling delicacy.

Expresso

 

 

Original editions and rights sold:

 

Amor a primeira vista (“Love at first Sight”), Lisbon: Casa das Letras 1998, 248 p.

 

O fanático do sushi (“The sushi fanatic”), Lisbon: Casa das Letras 2000, 1195 p.

 

Os cavaleiros de São João Baptista (“The knights of São João Baptista”),

Lisbon: Casa das Letras 2004, 375 p.

 

Enquanto Salazar dormia (“While Salazar was sleeping”), Lisbon: Casa das Letras 2006, 467 p.

Brazil: Nova Fronteira 2007Poland: Swiat (Bertelsmann Media) 2009

 

Já ninguem morre de amor (“No-one dies of love any more”), Lisbon: Casa das Letras 2008, 236 p.

 

 

Represented for Oficina do Livro