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Winner of the José Saramago Literary Award
A mesmerizing tale from Portugal's most acclaimed young novelist.
Set in an unnamed Portuguese village, against a backdrop of severe poverty, The Implacable Order of Things follows two generations of men and women as they struggle with love, jealousy, violence, loss, and—most of all—the inescapability of fate. With subtle prose and powerful imagery, José Luís Peixoto delicately weaves together the stories of his oddball cast-including a pair of twins conjoined at the pinky, a supercentenarian, a shepherd turned cuckold by a giant, and even the Devil himself.
“Splendidly demanding.... The images Peixoto evokes in helping his characters communicate without words are singular and unforgettable.... Nature appears to prevail as the governing force, and Peixoto's brilliance and power as an artist are precisely in his desire to mimic nature's ability to create and destroy simultaneously.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
"José Luís Peixoto is one of the most surprising revelations in recent Portuguese literature.”
“Brilliantly rendered episodic tales of rural loss.... Peixoto's evocation of pathos is tempered by a keen sense of the absurd. His ironic sensibility shines through beautifully in this translation.”
“Peixoto offers an appealing addition to the genre of rural magical realism…. [A] poignant debut."
“Peixoto's bold, incantatory prose is consistently beautiful… simple but also incredibly rich and resonant. ….The external narrator's own wise words are picked up and repeated by the characters, as though these portentous lines, these profound thoughts are out there… like great discovered truths. That even these weighty lines are moving and thought-provoking, rather than pretentious, is further testament to the author's considerable skills.”
—The Independent (UK)
“[The Implacable Order of Things] poses difficult questions and challenges the reader… but the patient reader finds great rewards.”
“You read and breathe as if you were downing a bottle of life in one gulp.”
“Peixoto comes from the world of poetry and of the theatre. And this can be sensed here. His pages, purified in the lyrical prose that makes them unique, introduce us to a rural space burned by the sun, inhabited by the singing of the cicadas and suspended in a mythical time where each action has a biblical inevitability.”