Thursday, January 30, 2014

Verão Quente - Domingos Amaral

Although I did not write down any reading resolutions for 2014 one of the things I was hoping to accomplish was to read one book a month for the Portuguese HF Challenge. So I am particularly happy to have managed to accomplish the read of one book before the end of January.

This was my first read by Amaral and it was a very fast and easy read. It is a mystery about the investigation of a murder committed in Portugal in 1975 - the Hot Summer (Verão Quente) that the title refers to. Portugal was a dictatorship up until the 25th of April 1974 revolution and the subsequent years were fertile in political moves.

What I did like most about the book was the glimpse it gave me of how things happened during that period. It made me want to read more stories set in the mid seventies but also try some of the non fiction books written about these events.

What I did like the least was the characters. Too much sex or sexual innuendo, too many women for whom every male drools and who don't think twice about betraying any partner they might be involved in. I felt there was zero chemistry between the main characters and was a bit bored by how they jumped from bed to bed.

The murder investigation was interesting up to a point and I was actually looking forward to knowing who the killer was. But in the end it felt like an easy way out was chosen. There was no clue and the ending felt a bit abrupt.

Although set in different decades I thought it made for an interesting comparison with Alem Tejo. That story was about the lower classes during the dictatorship and this one was about the upper classes. Both definitely made me want to read more about it.

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