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Publisher's Summary

Narrated by Sir Derek Jacobi with great feeling and style who also read it for Radio 4’s book at bedtime broadcast. Set in the sweltering summer of 1938 in Portugal, a country under the Fascist shadow of Spain, Pereira Maintains tells a tale of reluctant heroism. An editor at a second-rate Lisbon newspaper, Dr Pereira, wants nothing to do with European politics. Something of a recluse, his closest confidante is a photograph of his late wife, and he is happy to immerse himself in stories from nineteenth-century French literature. All this changes when he meets Francesco Monteiro Rossi, an oddly charismatic young man. Pereira gives Rossi work, even after discovering that he is using the money to recruit for the anti-Franco International Brigade. Pereira Maintains chronicles Pereira's ascent to consciousness, culminating in a devastating and reckless act of rebellion. An extraordinary novel from one of Italy's most acclaimed contemporary writers read by Sir Derek Jacobi, one of Britain's best-loved actors who recently appeared in The Kings Speech. Tabucchi is the author of 20 novels, nine of which have been translated into English.

He has been awarded many prestigious literary awards and prizes including the Premio Campiello, The Premio Viareggio and the Aristeion Prize for this book.

©2010 Antonio Tabucchi (P)2011 Canongate Books

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  • Overall
  • Caroline
  • 12-31-11

Brilliant!

This audio book is a real gem - a great story with perfect narration by Derek Jacobi. The story is set in Lisbon in the late 1930's and although it's short, the description of the main character, the city and the heat of the summer are fantastic. The story unfolds quite slowly but never too slowly as there is always a sense of apprehension as you know that Pereira is going to face some sort of trouble. I would highly recommend this and will definitely look for more books by this author.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Elizabeth
  • 10-26-11

Read this book! It is a gem!

The main character of the novel is a middle-aged, overweight journalist with heart problems who manages the culture section of a newspaper in Lisboa in the late nineteen thirties. The political situation in Europe is very much present in the book. Pereira is lonely and a bit depressed, talking to and seeking advice from a photograph of his deceased wife. The story begins with Pereira coming into contact with a young politically active couple.
The story is beautifully written with a quiet charm and wisdom that stayed with me long after I had finished the novel. In the novel the naive but honest and decent Pereira gradually finds a courage that makes for an ending to the novel that is satisfying. The novel caught my interest at once, and the narration by Derek Jacobi is brilliant. He catches the warmth and humour of the story perfectly.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Irene
  • 04-29-12

Antonio Tabucchi

I enjoyed this novel. It is set in 1930s Portugal and steals up on you as the narrator increasingly, despite himself, becomes swept up by events. Derek Jacobi gives a fine reading and I would highly recommend this.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Peter
  • 02-16-12

Pereira maintains one's interest throughout

A brilliantly contrived and thoroughly enjoyable novel set in Salazar's Portugal and well worth listening to.
My only criticism was with Derek Jacobi's mis-pronunciation of Portuguese names and places but I don't suppose that this would really detract from the enjoyment for any non-Portuguese speakers!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Amir El Alem
  • 02-27-16

Literature as a powerful force against oppression

This is a sparse yet moving story about the awakening of a man's soul.
The narrator's performance is in perfect sync with the ethos of the text

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Mary Carnegie
  • 11-27-15

Welcome intro of great novel to mainstream UK

Sir Derek always excellent speaker of text, but arguably not perfect choice here, because it's too easy to see him as Pereira, protagonist, not the narrator. Some of the translation clunks, but not too often. Another reviewer has criticised DJ's pronunciation of Portugese names - I can't comment on that, but the pronunciation of French names isn't ideal either, but much worse in Italian audiobook. Book set in 1938 quasi fascist Portugal, but written when Berlusconi ruling media, being elected over and over.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Andrew
  • 10-16-15

Spectacular in its simplicity

What a spectacular "read"! Too often authors become convoluted in the language that they choose - this book is proof that straightforward words, woven together with character, can create vivid images and a compelling story. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Derek Jacobi, I must add, was largely responsible for my enjoyment - he is a true master in using intonation to pull you along with the story.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Penny
  • 06-17-13

Pereira is a delightful surprise

This is a gem of a book - the elderly reporter Pereira is caught up in the intrigue of the Spanish Civil War - which spilled over into Portugal. Set in Lisbon in 1930's, and full of interesting snippets of life and characters - I loved it and wish I could find something else by this author.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Astral Surfer
  • 03-01-17

Sympathetic and outstanding narration

If you could sum up Pereira Maintains in three words, what would they be?

Surprising, compelling, satisfying.

Which character – as performed by Derek Jacobi – was your favourite?

Pereira comes across really well as a person. Quirky, individual and one whose values are challenged.

Any additional comments?

Astonishing book. I loved Jacobi's narration which, given the number of times he has to repeat ' Pereira maintains', remains fresh and honest each time. The translation, I assume, is sympathetic as it feels real. A genuine sense of a country on the edges of a civil war and at the eve of a world war, but seen through the eyes of real people. <br/><br/>I loved this story and it's one I'll listen to again. Pereira was on a journey and it's on I enjoyed sharing with him. Enlightening and compelling.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Aliza Bat-Ami
  • 02-09-17

An outstanding read

Would you consider the audio edition of Pereira Maintains to be better than the print version?

Haven't read the book, but Derek Jacobi's crystal clear and totally fitting narration made the audiobook outstanding.

What other book might you compare Pereira Maintains to, and why?

Hard to say - certainly not to most modern novels. It is brief, elegant and surprising.<br/>

Have you listened to any of Derek Jacobi’s other performances? How does this one compare?

He is a world class actor who ALWAYS delivers.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

I was looking for a book to learn more about Iberian history - this novel illuminated some corners of Portugal better than long lectures.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful