Fun, fiction or fact

Silves, Algarve, rooftops

Algarve has been inhabited by people of many different cultures including Visigoths from northern Europe, Romans and Moors.

And, of course, many have waxed lyrical about the region – why wouldn’t they? The Portuguese poet João Lúcio is no different, he writes, “Oh my ardent Algarve, impressionistic and soft. My lovely lazy-bones asleep in the sun. My mad dreamer breathing reveries…”. 

It is truly a land of contrasts and has inspired Portuguese writers such as Jaime Cortesão, José Leite de Vasconcelos, Oliveira Martins.

Raul Brandão refers to the Algarvean fields as “gardens” and writes of parts of the region, like Cape St. Vincent, as “isolated, tragic beauty” where “the Algarve ceases to be cheerful and becomes bare and rocky”. 

Perhaps the most well-known of Portuguese authors is Fernando Pessoa. During his lifetime he only published three collections of poetry in English however, today his works (poetry, prose and an unfinished autobiography) have been translated and published in many languages. For some suggestions click here for books available in English, in Portugal.

José Saramago is another well-known Portuguese author. He won many accolades including the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1998. Many of his books have been translated and some are available in English together with other languages at Livraria Bertrand.

Today many authors set their novels in Portugal. From retornados (returning Portuguese evacuees) from the country’s former colony in Africa (Dulce Maria Cardoso’s The Return), a widowed Canadian diplomat moving to Portugal with a chimpanzee (The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel, of The Life of Pi fame) to Hunting Midnight by Richard Zimmler, a story of Portuguese Jewry and slavery starting in Porto and ending in America – click here for Sarah Dunnant’s review.

Another interesting read was originally written in German by Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon. Set in the Portuguese capital during António Salazar’s dictatorship, the book was adapted to film (released in 2013) with Jeremy Irons playing the protagonist Raimund Gregorius.

If you enjoy a political thriller then the Gold Dagger Award for the best mystery of 1999 might hit the spot. Robert Wilson’s A Small Death in Lisbon starts in the 1990s and then backtracks to 1941, moving back and forth between the eras throughout the book.

Perhaps you are wondering where to pen your next, or even your first, novel. We know where you should visit.

For suggestions on where to stay in Algarve contact us with your preferences. Short- and long-term rentals are available.

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