A Practical Guide to Levitation


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Book Description

On the sands of Itamaracá, an old fisherman dreams of fish: shad in the morning, when the water’s smooth and silvery, the Atlantic tarpon after it rains, and a jack when the sea goes blue. Elsewhere, Borges sulks away in a plantation of neverending banana tree, and the president of the United States wakes from a coma speaking only Portuguese. Vividly translated by long-time Agualusa collaborator Daniel Hahn, the jewel-like tales gathered in this collection are an exuberant celebration of story-telling in all its various forms. With “the lyrical experimentalism and unabashed weirdness of the surrealist” (The Arts Desk), Agualusa offers a sly wink to the fictional quality inherent in all narratives, whether they’re fishermen’s tales, national histories, or the stories we tell ourselves.

This astonishing collection by Angolan writer Agualusa brims with imagination . . . Often mordantly funny . . . Agualusa’s wondrous tales balance fantasy with skillful historical storytelling and a palpable distaste for the politics of oppression.
Publishers Weekly, starred review

Agualusa’s amused take on eccentric behaviors and unaccountable obsesssions – his tone of momentary acceptance of the weird or uncanny in ordinary encounters – reminds me of the crónica genre in Spanish- and Portuguese-language newspapers . . . From beginning to end, each story here sparkles with wit, empathy, and blunt honesty.
Ron Slate, On the Seawall

Mysterious events in Agualusa’s stories reveal a kinship with García Márquez, whereas events of mysterious ambiguity fall into Bolaño’s camp . . . Daniel Hahn’s translation successfully conveys that straight-faced equanimity needed for staring absurdities in the eyes.
Tom Bowden, The Book Beat

Praise for José Eduardo Agualusa

Read Agualusa if you like: Roberto Bolaño, the films of Yorgos Lanthimos, Phil Klay, traveling alone, the simulation hypothesis.
Molly Young, New York Times Book Review

Cross J.M. Coetzee with Gabriel García Márquez and you've got José Eduardo Agualusa, Portugal's next candidate for the Nobel Prize.
Alan Kaufman

Without doubt one of the most important Portuguese-language writers of his generation.
António Lobo Antunes

"A man with a good story is practically a king.” If this is true, then Agualusa can count himself among the continent’s new royals.
Angel Gurría-Quintana, The Financial Times

Praise for A General Theory of Oblivion

The premise of A General Theory of Oblivion is enticing enough, but in the hands of José Eduardo Agualusa, the story is irresistible.
Jane Graham, The Big Issue

Agualusa has accomplished something strange and marvelous here, a whirling dervish of joy and pain, blood and memory, whose many high points I found myself re-reading immediately, eager to experience the shine of the prose like spun gold. It left me in awe of these stories we tell ourselves: those we need to survive, those that change us, and those that change with us.
Dustin Illingworth, Quarterly Connection

Praise for The Society of Reluctant Dreamers

False memories and clairvoyant dreams combine in Agualusa’s sweeping, intricately plotted tale of personal and political history in Angola . . . While the dense and tangled story, rife with diary entries, recounted personal histories, and thinly drawn tertiary characters, is almost too short for its own good, Agualusa manages to pull off a deeply satisfying ending . . . (a) populous, multilayered commentary on the fogs of love and war.
Publishers Weekly

“Matulai, the South Wind,” a story from the collection, is available to read in The Brooklyn Rail 

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