Translated from the original Portuguese by Daniel Hahn
In a city not quite of any particular era, a distant and calculating man named Lenz Buchmann works as a surgeon, treating his patients as little more than equations to be solved: life and death no more than results to be worked through without the least compassion. Soon, however, Buchmann’s ambition is no longer content with medicine, and he finds himself rising through the ranks of his country’s ruling party . . . until a diagnosis transforms this likely future president from a leading player into just another victim. In language that is at once precise, clinical, and oddly childlike, Gonçalo M. Tavares—the Portuguese novelist hailed by José Saramago as the greatest of his generation—here brings us another chilling investigation into the limits of human experience, mapping the creation and then disintegratin of a man we might call “evil,” and showing us how he must learn to adapt in a world he can no longer dominate.
About the Author
Gonçalo M. Tavares was born in 1970. He has published numerous books since 2001 and has been awarded an impressive number of literary prizes in a very short time, including the Saramago Prize in 2005. He was also awarded the Prêmio Portugal Telecom de Literatura em Língua Portuguesa 2007 for Jerusalem.
Born of the extraordinary talent of this great novelist, this book serves us indeed a common story, a man coming to know himself. However, Tavares’ accomplishment happens to be so original one cannot help being shocked by the power of his writing so precise and radical. Every single word has a strong presence, reading it can be hurtful but also it challenges one’s traditional imagination.
In Learning to Pray in the Age of Technique the author portrays an anti-religious, cruel and ambitious surgeon who changed his profession and struggled to play an important role in politics. This is a very well written, ironic novel, criticizing modern society especially those who are unscrupulous, want to dominate and be admired, but are betrayed by destiny.