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The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa.

  • In one sentence: Eventless autobiographical sketches about working a shit job in a shit town, and but the beauty of self-obsession.
  • Number of reads: 2 since 2015.
  • Galef type: Data 1 - a window onto an interesting piece of the world, &
    Value 3 - written from a holistic value structure, letting you experience that value structure from the inside, &
    Style 2 - from which you can learn a style of thinking by studying the author’s approach to the world.
  • To be read when: unable to sleep; 3am or travelling for more than 15 hours.


Astonishing. A mind whose uniqueness was invisible during its life; about what we now call neuroatypicality; about everyday aesthetics. He's obsessed with cute fatalism, his own inadequacy, nothingness and loneliness, but almost every passage is wise or funny or beautiful. I catch no despair off him. Shite into gold. Like Larkin if Larkin were likeable; like Montaigne if he were terser and darker. This paperback is a super-slim selection of the full chaotic archive he left behind.

Floreat inertia! the worker-poet distinctive and supreme.

I first read this on a 22-hour international journey, unsleeping, undrinking, unreal; I prescribe the same conditions for you when you read him.

Only a tenth of the full Desassossego archive has been translated in to English; this is a great temptation towards a language I presently have no other reason to learn.