Cristiana Sassetti (University of Pisa)
My contribution is a sort of synthesis of my Ph. D. thesis in progress A Window with a View: Lisbon in the Fiction by António Lobo Antunes, combined with the analysis of some aspects of Rubem Fonseca’s work which was the main subject of my thesis for the undergraduate degree. The reason why I decided to put together these two authors, born in different continents, was the fact that both have chosen as their narrative scene their own big cities: Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro, offering of them a very particular perspective.
The Portuguese author António Lobo Antunes starts his career publishing two different titles at the same time, both strongly autobiographical: Memória de Elefante and Os Cus de Judas, in 1979, where he portrays a morally and economically decaying Lisbon, victim of a nearly half century long dictatorship that was also responsible for a general insensibility towards Lisbon’s urban decadence, and victim of building speculation.
The Brazilian author Rubem Fonseca has also portrayed in his short story collection Feliz Ano Novo, published in 1975, a similar process of degradation that hurts his Rio de Janeiro. Fonseca, however, adds the social phenomenon of the generalized extreme violence, so characteristic of Brazilian society in this turn of the century. Moreover, both authors, with a very bold and original style, denounce the deliberate hiding of the growing decline of their own countries where the responsibility for all these institutional lies must be searched for in their respective governments.