And so you've finally decided to move to Lisbon. How amazing! I'm really happy for you and I'm incredibly jealous. I LOVE Lisbon.
It's probably among my top 5 cities in the world and I know that between London, Milan, Chiang Mai, Bali and Berlin, I will end up there one day.
Since I was a little child, I learnt the magic power of travelling through reading.
Thanks to those pages, I was able to climb up the Empire State Building in New York or walk down Parisian streets, all while comfortably sitting on my childhood bed.
For quite some time, before moving to London for my internship, I was obsessively reading books set in the British capital. Ask my mum (and read the article on link below)!
Today, I'm taking you to Lisbon through the pages of 5 books about or set in the Portuguese city. This article is great both for those who live in Lisbon and for those who are planning a trip there.
5 books about Lisbon you must read in 2020
1. 'The Maias' by Eça de Queiroz
One of the greatest novels of 19th-century Portuguese literature, about the incestuous love between a brother and sister, set in Lisbon at that same period.
How naughty! Want to know how it ends? Read it now!
2. 'Night Train to Lisbon' by Pascal Mercier
Raimund Gregorius is a Swiss teacher who abandons his life to take the night train to Lisbon with a book by Amadeu de Prado, a (fictional) Portuguese doctor. You see, in this book there is another crucial book which Gregorius becomes obsessed by and leads him to investigate all around the city of Lisbon to find out more about the author who, with his book, rebelled against Salazar’s dictatorship.
3. 'What the Tourist Should See' by Fernando Pessoa
If you are looking for a different type of tourist guide to Lisbon, forget about those commercial ones and get this one written by one of Portugal’s greatest poets. This guide covers leisure, culture, art and architecture and despite been written almost 100 years ago it's still valid and interesting.
4. 'A Small Death in Lisbon' by Robert Wilson
The first setting is 1940s Lisbon, as refugees and spies throng the city during World War Two. Then, we are in the same city but in late 1990s with a new crime that pushes the main character to find out more about that old history.
6. History of the Siege of Lisbon by José Saramago
It couldn't be possible to write a guide to the best books about Lisbon and not include the Nobel Prize winning author who wrote many excellent novels.
In this book, a proof-reader at a publishing house in Lisbon changes a sentence in a historical text and alters the whole course of the 1147 Siege of Lisbon.
+ The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
Fernando Pessoa was probably one of the best Portuguese authors and after his death in Lisbon in 1935, a trunk was found with over 25,000 items. There were collections of poems, letters and journals. The Book of Disquiet is a post-mortem selection of what was found in that trunk.
In Lisbon there are a few restaurants or eating houses located above decent-looking taverns, places with the heavy, domestic look of restaurants in towns far from any rail line. These second-story eateries, usually empty except on Sundays, frequently contain curious types whose faces are not interesting but who constitute a series of digressions from life.
— Fernando Pessoa, from The Book of Disquiet