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José Agualusa

José Eduardo Agualusa was born in Huambo, Angola in 1960. He studied agronomy and forestry in Lisbon before he began his work as a writer. His novel Creole was awarded the Portuguese Grand Prize for Literature, and he received the U.K.’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for The Book of Chameleons in 2007. He and his translator, Daniel Hahn, won the 2017 Dublin Literary Award for A General Theory of Oblivion and in 2019, he won Angola’s most prestigious literary prize, the National Prize for Culture and Arts.

Matulai, the South Wind

Agualusa’s novels and stories hover over Angolan terrain riddled with the shrapnel of colonial violence, so this new collection's title, A Practical Guide to Levitation (Archipelago Books 2023), fits. The prose advances plot in light, lyrical tangents but keeps the full weight of historical trauma as an omnipresent fog. The refrain in this story, that Abacar's sleep is "deep and dreamless," suggests that the dream has escaped the character and now pervades the story, animating the landscape. Agualusa is one of the few truly hypnotizing writers working today.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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