Act of the Damned

Antunes, Antonio Lobo. Act of the Damned. New York: Grove Press, 1995.

I have to admit this was not one of my favorite books this month. Maybe something was lost in the translation (literally from Portuguese to English), but there were too many layers of storytelling going on. Dr. Nuno Souza, a dentist, tells his story in first person, but his imagination works overtime to include an Edward G. Robinson, a cigar smoking, gun toting tough guy. Nuno is married to Ana, but has a drug addicted girlfriend on the side.
Even though Nuno is telling the story in the first part, it’s Ana’s family that is the center of the story. Her family is beyond corrupt. Incest and greed come second nature to these people. Ana’s mother is the voice in part two. I think what makes the story so confusing is that no one really uses names. When Ana’s mother tells the story she uses family connections, “my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, my husband, his father, her brother…” Later, Ana herself tells the story…then someone else who uses the same technique…

These are the quotes that caught my attention:
“I opened the drawer to take out a shirt and tie, and was met by enough sicks for an army of ankles” (p 5).
“I laid down the receiver while the two voices tussled, scratched and bit each other in an electric desert of screws and wires” (p 17).
“‘I want her out by the thirtieth at the latest. She can go to tell and listen to conversations down there'” (p 42).
“I wiped the smile off my mouth with a napkin” (p 71).

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust from the chapter “Families in Trouble” (p 83).

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