A General Theory of Oblivion by Jose Eduardo Agualusa (Man Booker International Prize Long List)

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“I was happy in this house, on those afternoons when the sun came into the kitchen to pay me a visit. I would sit down at the table. Phantom would come over and rest his head in my lap.

If I still had the space, charcoal, and available walls, I could compose a great work about forgetting: a general theory of oblivion.

I realize I have transformed the entire apartment into a huge book. After burning the library, after I have died, all that remains will be my voice.

In this house all the walls have my mouth.” p. 104

I thought this book would be more about one woman’s isolated life behind the walls of an apartment she had barricaded herself into, and less about the revolution in Angola.

I thought it would have more letters, memories, and scribblings which she had left on the apartment walls after living there for years and years in utter isolation.

I thought I would like reading about an introvert in the extreme, a person who disliked being outside at all.

Instead, there was much about trapping pigeons with rough diamonds, and political goings on.

Frankly, I didn’t like it. It is my least favorite of the long list so far. Find more thoughts, with a better plot summary, from 1st Reading.

A General Theory of Oblivion by Jose Eduardo Agualusa
Translated by Daniel Hahn
244 pages