João Cerqueira entrevista para a Book Club Reading List

What inspired you to write this book?

I always had an interest in the strange 1917 occurrence that happened in Fátima, when the Virgin Mary appeared to three Portuguese shepherd children, sharing several prophecies, including one that Communism would end. I also spent considerable time in Cuba and hear stories of those who experienced Fidel Castro’s regime firsthand. So, The miracle of Fátima and the Cuba experiences inspired The Tragedy of Fidel Castro.

What topics in your book or background do you think book clubs would find interesting?

I think this book – which debates Capitalism and Socialism addresses issues of critical interest in discussions on the problems of today’s world. But for those interested in religion the book also offers reflections about the existence of God and human nature using humor and irony. In short, the book stands for political freedom and for humanitarian values.

Tell us about your career outside of writing and how it influence your writing.

I have a PhD in History of Art from the University of Oporto. Reading academic works, writing thesis, history of art books and articles in magazines and newspapers help me to improve the quality of my novels. In The Tragedy of Fidel Castro there are several allusions to art (Cubism and Renaissance painting) and architecture (the Genius Loci, or spirit of the place).

Describe your style of writing

It was through Portuguese writers – Camões, Fernando Pessoa, José Saramago, Lobo Antunes, Mário Cláudio – that I learned to write. Hence my belief that form – that is, command of language – is as or more important than content. I am interested in exploring the complexity of human nature. Why there is so much violence? Why there is so much stupidity? Are we really so much different from other animals? The lives of Hitler and Stalin were worth more than those of my (your) cats (dogs)? My novels satirize modern society and use irony and humor to provoke reflection and controversy.

Which authors have inspired you?

Besides those referred above, Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, Virginia Wolf, Pär Largerkvist, Mikhail Bulgakov, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Phillip Roth, Cormac MacCarthy, Flannery O’Connor, Paul Auster, Marguerite Yourcenar, Gunter Gräss, W. G. Sebald, Italo Calvino, Henrique Vila-Matas, Mario Vargas Llosa, Eça de Queirós, Dulce Maria Cardoso and Mário de Carvalho. One book that I particularly like is Erasmus’s In praise of Folly.

Publicado em 23 Janeiro 2013





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