2021 Longlist

Until Stones Become Lighter Than Water


Translated from the Portuguese by Jeff Love

2021 Longlist

Award-winning author António Lobo Antunes returns to the subject of the Portuguese colonial war in Angola with a vigorous account of atrocity and vengeance. Drawing on his own bitter experience as a soldier stationed for twenty-seven months in Angola, Lobo Antunes tells the story of a young African boy who is brought to Portugal by one of the soldiers who destroyed the child’s village, and of the boy’s subsequent brutal murder of this adoptive father figure at a ritual pig killing. Deftly framing the events through an assembly of interwoven narratives and perspectives, this is one of Lobo Antunes’s most captivating and experimental books. It is also a timely consideration of the lingering wounds that remain from the conflict between European expansionism and its colonized victims who were forced to accept the norms of a supposedly supposedly superior culture.

About the Author                                                                                                        

António Lobo Antunes, who has been called “one of Portugal’s pre-eminent writers” by The New York Times, was born in Lisbon in 1942, where he still resides. The son of a physician, he too became a doctor and then spent four years in the Portuguese army during the Angolan war. His fictional “memoir” of that war, South of Nowhere, was internationally praised and followed by other widely translated and much-honored novels, including Act of the DamnedFado AlexandrinoExplanation of the Birds, and The Natural Order of Things.

Jeff Love is a research Professor of German and Russian at Clemson University, has published three monographs, edited two collections of articles and translated three books, two philosophical treatises, one German, the other Russian, and a novel by renowned Portuguese author António Lobo Antunes. Professor Love’s primary research fields are German and Russian philosophy and theory of the novel. He has given talks at universities throughout Europe as well as in China and contributed to the Philosophical Salon at the LA Review of Books. He has been awarded, among others, the John E. Sawyer Fellowship at the National Humanities Center (2014-2015), the University Research Scholarship and Artistic Achievement Award (2018) at Clemson University and the Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities (1997-1998) while at Yale University.

Librarian’s Comments

António Lobo Antunes returns to the subject of the Portuguese colonial war in Angola with a vigorous account of atrocity and vengeance. It is a book that returns to the War in a moving way and full of crossroads. It is our nominee this year because we believe that we should never let forget the feelings and stories lived for so many during those years of war. Even if sometimes, for the reader there is a fine line between reality and fiction. Porto Public Libraries, Portugal

Lobo Antunes


Yale University Press


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