If you ever want to figure out what goes on inside my brain when it’s not clogged with essay-related cotton wool, then read this. The Book of Disquiet will blow your mind, realise how mundane your entire existence is, and then promptly wonder why the hell you can’t write like Pessoa.
Under the narrator Bernard Soares, with whom Pessoa apparently shared many characteristics, Pessoa manages to describe the most trivial daily tasks in exquisite detail, and then link them to some mind-blowing philosophical point that will make you weep. Honestly, I don’t think that I’ve related to a book so much before. It’s taken me over a month to get to page 43, but this is the kind of book that I want to savour. I want to share long bubble baths with it, sipping champagne and debating the meaning of life. I want to sleep with it (technically, I already do. It’s under my pillow.). I want to marry a book.
As you’ve probably realised by now, formulating my rambling thoughts into a coherent sentence is quite a feat, but now I’ve got The Book of Disquiet, I’ve got something to do it for me. Take this extract:
If only one had not learned , from birth onwards, to give certain accepted meanings to everything, but instead was able to see the meaning inherent in each thing rather than that imposed on it from without.
I spent a mind-boggling two hours debating that very subject earlier. Pessoa has taken the words right out of my mouth.
It’s all so beautiful. Despite the fact that this is translated from Portugese, despite the fact that the collection of writings from which the book was collated is incomplete, the writing is beautiful, with a certain detail that’s kind of like Wuthering Heights (I’m sorry, I’ve got that blasted book on the brain), but less confusing and with less incest. Yet. I haven’t finished reading, but the vibe I’m getting is that Bernard Soares isn’t an incest kinda guy.
If you’re looking for an insightful – quite frankly mind-blowing – book, then this one’s your answer. Deep.
Think of it as the literary equivalent of a midnight conversation debating the nature of existence.