Read Learning to Pray in the Age of Technique by Gonçalo M. Tavares Daniel Hahn Online

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The second installment in Tavares’s acclaimed “Kingdom” series. 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 longThe second installment in Tavares’s acclaimed “Kingdom” series. 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 disintegration of a man we might call “evil,” and showing us how he must learn to adapt in a world he can no longer dominate.(Portuguese Literature Series)...

Title : Learning to Pray in the Age of Technique
Author :
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ISBN : 9781564786272
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 342 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Learning to Pray in the Age of Technique Reviews

  • Jim Fonseca
    2019-05-01 23:03

    A militaristic upbringing by a stern father creates a depraved surgeon. He has no feelings; no soul, and in fact is glad when his older brother finally dies so he alone can carry on his father's name and traditions. He thinks of his brother "I'm going to find it easy to forget you." He engages in bizarre practices such as bringing homeless men into his house to watch him have sex with his wife. Having conquered medicine and earned a reputation as a surgeon, he abandons that career and turns to politics. A major theme of the book is an extended metaphor on the parallels between surgery and politics: in surgery, the downward-pointing hand; in politics, the upward-raised hand. Eventually his depravity leads him to commit three murders.As in Tavares' novel Jerusalem, we are carried along on a deep-sea dive into the depths of human darkness. We are offered rich language and ideas and we can see why his Portuguese countryman, Nobel-prize winner Jose Saramago, raved about his writing. Some nuggets: "The brain, when seen up close...has the form and function of a weapon..." "Statistics are a precise way of demonstrating indifference." "...words are like warehouses, holding successive concentrations of experiences from different generations..." (Edited 11/19/16)

  • BlackOxford
    2019-05-03 23:15

    Trumping TrumpIf Tavares were to have published Learning to Pray in 2016 rather than 2007 he would have been successfully sued by Donald Trump for slander and invasion of privacy. Or possibly hired as Trump's campaign manager. Who knows, perhaps he was even the inspiration for Trump's presidential aspirations, a sort of anticipatory biography of 'alternative facts'.Tavares' protagonist, Lenz Buchmann, lives in a world created by his father and described by Thomas Hobbes, a world of barely contained brutal competition and animosity. It is a world motivated and glued together by fear of each for each other. To Lenz there is no question that the world really is this way because it responds to him with the same hostility as he to it. His father's dictum is his lifelong guide: "Doing what we want, that is the first level; the second is making other people want what we want." There are only two forms of action relevant to executing this advice, defence and attack. The latter is always the more successful.Lenz doesn't just recognise the world as Hobbesian, however. His aspiration is to be, not to be part of, the Leviathan, the force that keeps the heaving hostile mass in order, his order. To induce fear but never to fear. He is this sovereign whale domestically, of course, and also in his profession as a surgeon, where he metes out humiliation or approbation, happiness or tragedy. Or, more metaphysically, he is creating the Kingdom.Lenz is conventionally virtuous because virtue pays not because it is virtuous. He similarly tolerates social and religious ritual because it creates a communal mood appropriate to an occasion, and assigns roles which individuals can play predictably as positions of leadership, respect, and influence, not because ritual has any demonstrative meaning. This vulgar pragmatism he calls competence, "organic craftsmanship", rational technique: "All actions are good as long as they meet their objective."Technique is the opposite of nature; indeed, its sworn enemy. Technique is laudably unnatural. Nature experiments with the most effective ways to deceive and to seduce bodily organs to "change sides", to give up on the body. Technique attacks nature to mitigate and correct its irrationality. Effective technique is also the sign of people who make things, who contribute, who build, and whose duty it is to protect the things which they make, contribute and build.Lenz has an epiphany in his maturity. His ambition to become Leviathan can't be realised in his somewhat restricted role as surgeon. For real clout, he needs a bigger stage, a political one. And politics too is a matter of proper technique, that "of joining men and separating them." He becomes a successful Babbitt. The illusion of community created by Party politics became his milieu to manipulate as effectively and decisively as he had dealt with a defective kidney. [Excursus: Any resemblance to Donald Trump is unintended and purely coincidental of course. The comments of the protagonist that "the price of anarchy has fallen in recent years" and "everyone wanted security, but first they wanted to feel more threatened" and his reputation as "an out and out crook" notwithstanding.]There is a school of moral thought called Virtue Ethics which teaches that we take on the attitudes and dispositions of the positions and rituals we perform. Practice virtue and you become more virtuous. The process also works in reverse: the practice of evil facilitates increased evil. Lenz becomes an exemplar of this phenomenon.At one point during Lenz's accumulation of political power, he recognises a paradox however. The more power one has, the less clearly defined are his adversaries, and the more it is possible that the enemy is neither in front or behind but lies where Lenz remembers from his childhood. The real threat lies "below", in this memory, in the very earth one walks on. As an adult this below is not in the earth but within the depths of oneself, below one's own consciousness, hidden but active and awaiting opportunity. A Faustian Lenz begins to take on traits of a Dorian Grey. Publicly he is sane and in control, but his increasingly debilitating headaches and fetishistic urges begin to dominate his inner portrait, his private self, which has become notably homicidal. Nature has arrived. But as a retro-virus, looking like the cells it attacks. Cleverer than any technique, the brain cancer progressively takes charge, with its own homicidal objective. The body spits on itself.Here's the question: would even incipient death provoke Donald Trump to forego his ethos, to do something with no technique at all? Does he in fact pray or negotiate by the numbers with God?

  • Eddie Watkins
    2019-05-08 00:20

    For being such a detailed portrait, from the inside, of a thoroughly despicable character, this book left me with a very curious floating feeling, a feeling of subtle elation. This feeling could have stemmed from the closing death scene - peaceful, delicate (though eerie) - but I think there are other less obvious reasons, reasons worked into the novel between the lines by Tavares, that caused what I consider to be the intent of this book: the curious floating feeling which I felt after turning the final page.While Learning to Pray in the Age of Technique is a monolithic portrait of an amoral, sociopathic man, rather than filling me with a mounting distaste, it rather filled me with an expanding lightness the darker it got, as if what I was reading was creating – in its negative space – a counter-portrait of general goodness. This technique is similar to what C. S. Lewis did with The Screwtape Letters - portraying what goodness is by turning it on its head into a portrait of evil - but on a far more subtle level, perhaps because I knew Lewis was a Christian while reading, and I know very little about Tavares’ ideologies (though I suspect his moral/ethical stance is not as explicit (and simple) as Lewis’). Still, I was left with the distinct impression that Tavares’, while keenly aware of the ways “evil” rules the world, The Kingdom (which is the comprehensive title of the series of book of which this one is a part), he is just as keenly aware of this evil’s counterweight, but for whatever reasons has chosen not to explore/explain that side of the equation, though I have my thoughts on why…To define is to defuse, and so by thoroughly unmasking whatever mysteries obscured the power-hungry machinations of Lenz Buchmann, Tavares provides the reader a means to identify inclinations toward evil within his/her own person, but also to identify it in the world and so to set up a counter-insurgency to combat it. Not that he suggests it can ever be overcome – I am actually inclined to suspect that Tavares considers the world at the corporate/political level to be beyond repair – but he does suggest that all is not lost because there’s the possibility of establishing an alternate “kingdom”, or kingdoms, within ourselves. This is of course an explicitly Christian idea – “The kingdom of God is within you.” – but I doubt Tavares means it in this way, and is probably intent on secularizing, or partly secularizing, this profound and transformative concept.What I am suggesting is that Tavares’ “Kingdom Series” of novels is an attempt to explicitly define the Kingdom of Evil that currently rules the world, while building up within the reader, without explicitly stating as much, the alternate Kingdom of Good that can continue to exist within us regardless of what sociopathic scoundrels rule the world. And by being implicit with this alternate theme, he provides this kingdom with the necessary mystery and elusiveness to survive within whatever hostile environment it finds itself in. This is the third novel of Tavares’ series that I have read, but the first that I have been able to review. In part it could be because this is in a way the simplest of the three, though the longest, but it could just as well be because I read it last and that it took the reading of three books to even begin to crystallize my thoughts on the themes he’s exploring, and to begin to define the curious floating feeling his books have given me.

  • Jonfaith
    2019-05-05 23:53

    About a hundred years ago my wife and I were on holiday in England, staying then with her brother in Reading. A certain chain of events had left me at a hotel bar with my wife's brother, his friend Richard and Richard's soon-to-be wife. At the time Richard didn't care much for me, I was an American and one who didn't rise to his provocations: in fact I agreed with most of his zingers. We have since become warmer and I rather enjoyed hiking with his wife and children a few years back. Well, anyway, it was the four of us and then suddenly this fellow sat down uninvited and began relating his life's story. He stated that he had been kicked out of the French Foreign Legion for being too violent. Now if that isn't an endearing ice breaker to a table of strangers, I'm not sure what is. Quickly the others identified the guy as harmless and a blowhard and abandoned ME to listening the tirade. The guy kept harping on the competitive gene which a biological holdover of sorts. it was self evident, we wanted to be the best. I assured him that such reductions weren't likely. He asked, no, implored for evidence. I strangely referenced myself, my vocation, my approach to life. He kept hectoring and saying that my discretion was a crutch. This "debate" as such continued its stumble through a few more pints. I still shudder recalling that.That grinding tactic is wielded by Tavares as well as his protagonist in Learning To Pray In The Age Of Technique . It leaves the reader gasping for air and insecure. Nothing can be conceded for the author. Abstractions and biological imperatives steamroller all objections. There are no refutations to marshal. The assault continues until the earth is blackened. Such is the world view of Lenz Buchmann. His brother dies and apparently has the temerity to mix their father’s books with his own. Albert hadn't kept his father's library isolated on some particular shelves, with his own on others; on the contrary, he had merged all authors, reordered everything, arranged it all alphabetically, a simplistic decision that revealed the flaws in his character--he confused strength with alphabets.Even as the flesh weakens the spirit is vigilant. The novel’s conclusion is an amnesty of sorts.I admit to being relieved but am awe struck by the pitch maintained throughout.

  • Ben Winch
    2019-04-22 21:18

    I'm gonna risk courting controversy here - knowing what a cult the Dalkey Archive is to some Goodreaders - and say first up that I found the production of this book underwhelming. Specifically, the proofreading. After about the third I lost count, but I'd say there were over five typographical errors here, as well as an annoying repeated grammatical error which, while I know it has passed into common usage, seemed out of place in a translation which purports to be so rigorous, so proper, so clinical. (The error? 'Like' for 'as if' or 'as though': The servant girl groaned like she was enjoying it. Ugh!) Added to that, the translation seemed, at times, a little too coy for me, a little too clever. Sure, maybe it's Goncales, but at some point the whole mountain of polite turns-of-phrase just about collapsed in on itself and I got the distinct feeling this was a phenomenon that had occurred in English, not the original Portuguese. That said, I'll confess the novel itself left me at a loss. The opening was strong - the quick succession of scenes to illustrate the evidently twisted mind of the protagonist. But for the next 50 (100? 200?) pages or so I kept waiting for the story-proper to begin. No more vivid tableaux like bullet points, but a long essayistic exposition in which, to be honest, I wasn't sure I could detect a single moving or provocative concept. Yeah, it was different - not structurally or stylistically, but in terms of its substance. What are all these extended battle metaphors? I get it: Dr Lenz Buchmann is nuts. But I guess the substance of his nuttiness eluded me for many of these 300 pages. By the end I'd accepted it, the abstruse and epigrammatical nature of the text, and in fact by then a few things had happened in there somewhere too - but only a few. The result? I'm unsure if the glassy, empty, flat effect is to be praised or criticised. Stylistically, as I say, I don't rate this as 'experimental' - it doesn't do anything that Milan Kundera hasn't already done (with his conversational-intellectual breakdown of characters' motivations and telegrammatic blocks of declarative prose to illustrate brief scenes in those characters' lives). But on the other hand, in the character of Lenz Buchmann and the dissecting of his emotions and thoughts there may well be something original. To me it mostly seemed like a bizarre and meaningless cartoon, but it wasn't unenjoyable. For me, the jury's out on Tavares, and given how hard it is to get hold of his books here in Australia I don't expect to have a verdict in the near future. Let's just say, for a book so full of exposition and analysis, it wasn't the type of thing that had me rushing to jot down pertinent quotations. But perhaps in its cruelty - the cruelty of the telling (the coldness, the lack of recognisable emotion) as much as the subject matter - it really is something new, something modern.

  • Teresa Proença
    2019-04-24 01:11

    Com este livro termina a série dos "quadrigémios" negros de Gonçalo M. Tavares. São quatros pequenas "ampolas", que é suposto guardarem o vírus do Mal. Ao destapar a primeira fiquei febril; na segunda senti um arrepio ameaçador; com a terceira um ligeiro catarro; quando tomei a quarta ampola - como o vírus não sofreu qualquer mutação - tinha criado imunidade.Não é claro onde e quando decorre a acção; poderá ser na Alemanha, durante a Segunda Guerra; ou poderá ser somente numa qualquer galáxia "tavariana", onde todos são Darth Vader sem nunca terem sido Anakin Skywalker...A escrita e o tema são originais, na medida em que não são comparáveis com outro autor que eu conheça. Mas, ler os quatro "Reinos" acaba a tornar-se monótono porque são todos iguais. As personagens são uns meros objectos que o autor utiliza para expor as suas teorias sobre a guerra, o medo, a violência, a política, a religião, a moral, a doença, a loucura, e tudo o que tira a vontade de viver... A felicidade não existe, ainda menos o amor - andam por ali umas mulheres apenas para serem "feitas" pelos senhores...Em relação a este livro - o mais extenso da tetralogia - não gostei de nada; achei repetitivo, forçado, sem sentido, por vezes a roçar no ridículo (com moribundos a visitar cemitérios para se despedirem dos mortos...). E o final? Vou mas é calar-me...

  • Hakan
    2019-04-22 19:51

    "portekizli bir kafka" gibi bir övgüyü ön kapağa, kapağın en üstüne taşımayı uygun görmüş yayınevi yazar için. okumaya başladığımızda ise, ilginçtir, daha ilk sayfalardan itibaren kafka'ya taban tabana zıt bir anlatıyla karşılaşıyoruz. katı, kapalı, sınırları kalın kalın çizilmiş keskin bir anlatı. teknik çağında dua etmeyi öğrenmek bir romandan çok bir romana dair düşünceler gibi. ya da bir romanın yazılma sebebinin, meselesinin açıklaması gibi. arka kapakta ise yazarın "portekiz edebiyatının genç dahisi" olduğu belirtiliyor. bu, kafka benzetmesine göre, daha isabetli bir övgü. romanda insana ve topluma dair zaman zaman ışık ama çokça zehir saçan yazar zekası öne çıkıyor. insanı afallatan-bozan ama sağlam temeli, gerçekçiliği ve ifade biçimiyle kendini kabul ettiren bir güç. sonuçta, yazarla romancı farkını gösteriyor sanki roman. bir ince çizgide duruyor. kötü roman-iyi yazar. belki de "teknik çağında" bu böyle.

  • David
    2019-05-05 01:56

    I was first struck by the extraordinary title of this book and the positive reviews on GR. However, I started with Jerusalem and Klaus Klump (the other books of this trilogy) first before reading it. Those other two books are short, around 100-pages and pack punches with brilliant reflective thoughts on life, love and death. So I wondered about "Learning to Pray" which covers 340-pages. Would it hold up?Using very short "chapters or short thoughts spanning 2-3 pages, Tavares develops a masterful story. The main character, Lenz Buchmann is truly a nasty piece of humanity. Cruelly taught by his father to stand on his own, develops his cold "rational" view of humanity, becomes a doctor and then strives for one thing - political power. I have to admit I was initially repulsed by Buchmann, but the way Tavares writes, I honestly kept turning the pages to see how he develops. And this is key to the story.I am not giving away the plot but how the Buchmann story morphs, this ride through his drive for power, his lack of compassion, his obsessive love/fear of his father, his perversity and everything that happens in between, both startling, hidden and revealing, was a real eye-opener. From the shocking opening to the surreal last pages, this was truly an amazing read.Some will like; some will hate but for me the use of almost poetic, simple, repetitive words gives a glimpse of people driven by power. You can use this symbolically for many people from Hitler to Stalin, and the assorted crazies that are in power today. The title is the message. Scary. Scary. Scary.

  • Oğuzhan
    2019-05-13 23:56

    -kimi kitapları karıştırırken ilk sayfalarda bir tanıdık his yakalar ve onun için satın alırız. tavares'in bu kitabı için bunu yaşadım, lanthimos'un dogtooth'undan bir sahneye benzer bir şekilde açılıyor kitap, fakat kimi benzerliklerine rağmen lanthimos'un filmlerindeki o sıcaklık kitapta yok. kusurlarından sıyrılmış, insani özelliklerinden arınmış karakterler mevcut kitapta. süper kahramanlar gibi. lanthimos, distopik atmosfer yaratıp, oradan insanın özündeki duyguları ön plana çıkarır oysa.-ayakları yere basmayan ve sonunda da havada kalan bir roman. ne yapmak istediği çok belli olan bunu yaparken de bilmiş bir tavır sergileyen bir üslup söz konusu. bunu sevemiyorum. diktanın, iktidarın, kötülüğün daha iyi anlatılabileceğine inanıyorum. öğrenilmiş, planlı ve planından bir adım dışarı çıkamayan metinler hoşuma gitmiyor.

  • jeremy
    2019-05-15 21:57

    since publishing his first book some ten years ago, gonçalo tavares has gone on to write more than a dozen others. the angolan-born portuguese writer has won a number of prestigious literary awards and received accolades from around the world. were his storytelling skills not already well apparent in jerusalem, the first of his works to be translated into english, learning to pray in the age of technique (aprender a rezar na era da técnica) confirms the immense talent of gonçalo tavares. only the second of his works yet translated into english (save for an apparent few titles published by a very small press in india), learning to pray in the age of technique is a dark, often disturbing novel; one that probes the depths of ambition, power, and the human capacity for calculated cruelty. lenz buchmann, an accomplished surgeon, is malcontent with the limitations of his career (despite having achieved an almost flawless level of proficiency), and decides to turn his steady hand to the realm of politics. per his resolute will, buchmann quickly ascends the party ranks into a position of considerable power within city government. his loathing of weakness and disdain for all those he perceives as such leads him to reject family and foe alike (except for the veneration of his late father). as buchmann lusts for ever greater dominance and control, an illness waylays his plans and leaves him a defeated, helpless shell of his former self.throughout learning to pray in the age of technique, buchmann commits acts of utter reprehensibility, with a disregard for others that borders on the sociopathic. buchmann's actions are often without consequence to himself, as he is intent on his own concentration of power and prestige, absent of any concern for others. the violence (often sexual) that permeates buchmann's life, from youth onward, has made him all but incapable of human compassion or emotion. if he has become a mechanized version of himself, set to conquer and overtake, he does so not so much out of immorality but, rather, amorality. learning to pray in the age of technique is a distinguished work, composed with precision and characterized by a bold, stark prose. gonçalo tavares seems to be electrifying the international literary scene, and with works like this it's of no wonder why.to prolong one's lifespan, that most existential of questions, was- lenz believed- merely to provide an additional period for the incubation of hatred, for the incubation of the battles and disjunctions between the opinions, aims, and customs of various human beings. it was quite clear to lenz, each time he saved a person's life by way of some surgical procedure, that he was saving only one man- a statistical nonentity. statistics are a precise way of demonstrating indifference.learning to pray in the age of technique was apparently to be released by dalkey archive as learning to pray in the age of technology (and still appears that way even in this translation's end matter, where dalkey's catalog is listed in full. while "technique" appears to be a more accurate translation than "technology," the change may simply be on account of the untranslatable essence of the original portuguese word.dalkey is set to publish another of gonçalo tavares' novels, joseph walser's machine (a máquina de joseph walser) (part of the "kingdom" novels begun with jerusalem), early next year. it appears they have also acquired the rights to at least one additional book of his. nearly a half dozen works that form a part of his acclaimed (and, apparently, quite funny) o barrio (the neighborhood) series seem to be awaiting translation and publication by texas tech university press. deservedly, many more of tavares' novels may soon be finding their way into english (followed hopefully by his short stories, plays, poetry and essays).

  • Antonio
    2019-05-19 22:13

    I've only heard about Gonçalo Tavares in foreign lands, never in Brazil. After some insistence of a friend, I decided to give it a try. At first, I was expecting another regular medical tale. I can only tell you how wrong I was. Tavares introduces us to a despicable human being. Lenz Buchmann is an abhorrent man whose despise for others is a routine. Every patient who goes to see Buchman receives a medicine and a dose of the doctor's disdain. When Lenz becomes a politician, he continues to be this hateful man plotting his rise on the party.So why is this a good book? Lenz Buchmann sincerity is amazing, showing us the deeps of human nature. His idolatry to his foster father is so sick and explains so well his dysfunctionality that I want to congratulate Tavares for that. The choices of this man are controversial and complicated, even though they show us a sometimes forgotten image of the spectrum of human nature. A great story of a despicable man.

  • Manuel Alberto Vieira
    2019-04-27 00:09

    Como fui eu esquecer-me de partilhar a minha apreciação deste livro, lido aquando da primeira edição? O melhor livro de Gonçalo M. Tavares, pelo menos no que ao "compartimento" dos romances diz respeito. Talvez Jerusalém se lhe aproxime e Matteo Perdeu o Emprego, embora muito diferente, mereça ascender a uma altura de voo pouco menor. Mas em Aprender a Rezar na Era da Técnica, GMT reuniu os melhores predicados d'O Reino e trabalhou-os com mestria cirúrgica. Lamento, todavia, que tenha sido dado à estampa pouco depois de Jerusalém e acabado por ser algo ofuscado pelos ecos que este ainda produzia na crítica e nos leitores. Mas, nestas coisas, o tempo é bom conselheiro. E o acolhimento que teve além-fronteiras atesta isso mesmo.

  • Argos
    2019-05-06 00:01

    Çok iyi bir roman. Babasının etkisiyle içindeki kötü- güçlü-otoriter kimliğini ortaya çıkaran bir cerrahın hikayesi. Lenz Buchmann bir tıp fakültesi mezunu doktor, konusunda uzmanlaşmış bir cerrah, ama sadece bir teknisyen, hekim değil, çünkü hekimlik bir sanattır, Buchman bir sanatçı değil bir uygulayıcı, hekimliğe erişmemiş bir tıp doktoru. Üst ve güçlü insan fügürüne inanan cerrahideki "korku/hız" kavramını tüm topluma uygulamaya çalışan bir faşist. Mesleğindeki sertliği politikada da sürdürmek isteyen insanları korkutarak, ezerek yönetmeye çalışan bir insan. Bunun için provakatif bombalama eylemi yaptırabilen veya insan öldürmeyi gözünü kırpmadan yapabilen bir psikopat ruh yapısına sahip, tüm faşist liderlerde olduğu gibi narsisist.Ülkemizdeki benzer karakterleri hemen anımsayacaksınız.Romanı anlatmayacağım ancak yazardan çok etkilendim. Çok sert ve gerçekci, söyleyeceğini yekten söylüyor. Bolca kullandığı metaforlar mükemmel. Tıpla ilgisi olmamasına rağmen romanındaki tıbbi kavramlar ve yaklaşımlar inanılmaz derecede doğru kullanılmış. Bir cerrah olarak yazarın Buchmann'a ait cerrahi düşünceleri beni çok etkiledi. Bu tip cerrahların varlığı bir gerçek. Kitapta eleştirebileceğim yönler şunlar; eğer bir çeviri tercihi değilse, yan cümleciklerin ve parantez içinde açıklama cümleciklerinin çok fazla olması insanı yoruyor, okumayı sevimsizleştiriyor. Ayrıca bölüm başlıkları çok abartılı ve inanılmaz sayıda fazla, bu da aynı şekilde okuma zevkini kırıyor. Biçimsel olarak bu kusurlarına rağmen okunmasını kesinlikle öneririm.Son bir not; yazar için Le Figaro gazetesi "Portekiz'in Kafka'sı" demiş, bence halt etmiş, yazarın ne karamsar Kafka ile ne de Kafkaesk roman türüyle bir ilgisi var, her şeyden önce realist bir yazar.

  • Manuel Antão
    2019-04-25 02:18

    Can one build one's life on the refusal to really live with others? This is a story of a "relentless rise" and even an abrupt descent of a man that is born to be a servant of violence.Lenz Buchmann is an utterly despicable character but what a phenomenal and satisfying portrait of a despicable character it is. Maybe that's why the book works on several levels. The thin line between melodrama and pastiche verges on the absolutely brilliant. The books looks to me like an instruction manual because of its structure (the finely neat division in headlines, chapters and sections and language (technical and analytical, and yet also so distant).While reading this book Kafka and Gombrowicz come to mind. I'll try "to verbalize" the reasons:1 - Tavares vs Kafka: Absurdist tendencies and a very dark look towards life;2 - Tavares vs Kafka: Aphorisms abound. One could say that the book is almost entirely written in an aphoristic style. The similarities between Kafka and Tavares kept coming to mind ("Nachgelessene Schriften und Fragmente" by Kafka is a fine example of the Art of the Aphorism). In post-modern literature I don't recall another example to keep Tavares company;3 - Tavares vs Gombrowicz: Battle against the strictures of culture.Is it shown here the age of the "Death of God"? And with what can we replace Him? Technology...?Thinking material permeates the book...

  • Jordi Via
    2019-04-18 20:53

    Todos hemos sido malos en algún momento, el que crea que está libre de culpa es porque no lo quiere admitir.Gonçalo M. Tavares escribe de manera muy original un texto sobre cómo subrepticiamente uno paga por sus actos. Nos debatimos entre el bien y el mal, nos damos cuenta de hasta que punto estamos sometidos. Uno acaba, después de leer esta novela, aún más convencido de que la manipulación política y religiosa es universal e intrínseca en cualquier sociedad.Voy a leer todo lo que pueda de Tavares, ahora ya me he familiarizado con su lenguaje.

  • Carminda
    2019-05-03 21:16

    Gonçalo M. Tavares está-se a tornar num caso sério.

  • ArturoBelano
    2019-05-07 21:01

    "Kötülük beni en çok ilgilendiren konulardan biri. Krallık diye adlandırdığım seride bulunan romanlarımda kötülüğü anlamaya çabaladım; ortaya çıkışını, gizlenmesini ve tepemizde dikilmesini. Yanılıyor da olabilirim ama kötülüğün daimi biçimde bizi çevrelediğini, pusuya yattığını, bize baktığını, bizi beklediğini hissediyorum. Öyle ki bir anda kötülüğün nesnesi, yani kurban da olabiliriz; öznesi yani işkenceci de olabiliriz. Etrafımızda kötülük çemberleri mevcut, kendimizi onlardan tamamen kurtaramıyoruz. Kendilerini kötülükten tamamen uzaklaştırdıklarını söyleyen insanlardan korkuyorum. Naifler de, 20. asırda olan bazı şeylerin bir daha tekrarlanmayacağını söylüyorlar, çünkü onlara göre, gerekli dersler alınmış. Naiflerden de korkuyorum. Söylediklerine inanmıyorum, hatta bu naifliği (naïveté), en büyük kötülüğün yeşerdiği toprak olarak görüyorum. Eğer benden edebiyatın bir insana verebileceklerini tek bir sözcükle isteseydiniz, şunu söylerdim: netlik. (…) Kötülüğün ortaya çıkışına dair işaretler konusunda uyanık olmalıyız çünkü bence tarih sıklıkla tekerrür ediyor; tek fark, şiddetin her seferinde daha da artması. Tarih, bana öyle geliyor ki, kötülüğün tekrarlanmasına eğilimli ama her seferinde, teknolojik olarak daha gelişmiş yöntemlerle."Gonçalo M Tavares Krallık dörtlemesine dair bunları söylüyor. Söylediklerine ve dörtlemeye döneriz, evvela Kırmızı Kedi yayınlarını tebrik etmek lazım. Dörtlemeyi oluşturan Joseph Walser'in Makinesi ve Bir Adam-Klaus Klump ile Kudüs romanı elimde dururken Teknik Çağında’nın bir serinin devamı olduğuna dair bilgim olmadığından Tavares ile tanışmak için bu kitabı seçtim. Neyse ki karakter ve konu bütünlüğünden öte tematik bir devamdan bahsedebileceğimiz için, anlamda bir sıkıntı olmadı ama bir yayınevi için bence büyük bir hata bu yaptıkları.Gelelim Lenz Buchman ve kitaba…Hayali ve çok tanıdık bir ülkede, bilinmeyen bir zamanda geçen kitap Güç, Hastalık ve Ölüm adlı üç bölümden oluşuyor. Asker emeklisi despot bir babanın çocuğu olan Lenz Buchmann şehrin en önemli doktorlarındandır. Ama teknik çağında doktor yetenekli bir otomobil sürücüsünden farklı değildir Lenz için. Edebiyat tarihinde örneğine çokca rastladığımız kötüden Lenz’i ayıran temel yan bu diye düşünüyorum. Yaptıkları, düşündükleri ve söyledikleriyle kötülüğün prototipi olan Lenz duygular, istekler ve hastalıklar dünyasının ötesinde adeta bir cyborg (makine insan) edasıyla eyliyor. Ameliyat esnasında neşteri, av esnasında tuttuğu silah onun dışında parçalar olmak şöyle dursun,Lenz’in varlığının uzantıları. Çok iyi bir doktor ama hastaları iyi biri olduğu için iyileştirmiyor, hastalığın bir zayıflık belirtisi olduğu için ona savaş açıyor. Ve bu bireysel savaşın kendini tatmin etmediği anda ‘parti’ye katılarak şehri ve belki tüm insanlığı kurtarma hedefiyle mesleği birakıyor.Zizek, Hitler’e dair şöyle bir şey diyordu,’o kendini diktatör değil tüm almanyanın çilesini omuzlamış kurban konumunda görüyordu muhtemelen’.Lenz Buchmann ise kurbanlardan, güçsüzlerden ve hastalıktan nefret ediyor, bu konuda tutarlı ama hayat bu sert faşisti beklemediği anda beklemediği yerden vuruyor.Kitap,tema itibariyle bilindik sularda yüzüyor, bu bilindik sulara güzelliği katan ise yazarın üslubu. Çok bilindik çok aşina halleri yazar öyle farklı bir dille ve kitabın adına yaraşır bir teknikle anlatıyor ki ne dediğine, nasıl dediğine bakmak için geriye dönüyorsunuz. Alberto Manguel yazara dair şöyle diyor ‘ Genç Portekiz’li yazar Tavares’in en büyük mahareti, bir yazar olarak, dünyayı parçalarına ayırması ve sonra onu sanki kendi yarattığı bir şeymiş gibi yeniden inşa etmesi’.Krallık serisine sondan başladım ve başa doğru gitmeye devam edeceğim, Saramago’nun övmelere doyamadığı Tavares’i ıskalamayın der ve kitaptan alıntılarla veda ederim."Onun gözünde hasta organizma maddesel olarak suçluydu ve bu nedenle Lenz, kendi aklınca dokulardan bir ahlak düzeni kuruyordu, siyah ve beyaz hücrelerden, yanmış hücrelerden ve el değmemiş hücrelerden oluşan bir ahlak düzeni. Ve bu düzende ahlaksız olmak, işlevini yerine getirmemekti.""Acıya yaklaşımı bireyseldi. Başkalarından ödünç alınmış acıyı kabul etmiyordu; şefkat gereksiz bir duyguydu ya da Lenz’in kendi tabiriyle, varoluş için yararsız bir araçtı, teknik açıdan hiçbir işe yaramıyordu; Şefkat, iki kumaş parçasını birleştirmek için elinde çekiç tutmak gibiydi.""Büyük olaylar ve büyük hastalıklar dünyasına’ girmeye karar vermişti. Bireylerle uğraşmaktan ve kendisi de bir birey olmaktan bıkıp usanmıştı; onun ölçeği bu değildi; o bütün bir şehrin hastalığını ameliyat etmek istiyordu, tek ve önemsiz bir canlınınkini değil. Her şeyin ötesinde, o tuhaf yiyeceği verme zevkini tatmak istiyordu, gücün askerlerine ve memurlarına sunduğu, neredeyse sihirli bir enerji veren o yiyeceği, kalabalıkların karnını maddeten olmamakla birlikte eşit derecede etkin bir şekilde doyuran o yiyeceği. Biraz ekmek ve biraz korku, dedi Lenz bir dürtüyle, uzun bir sessizliği bozarak.”

  • Chad Post
    2019-04-27 22:03

    Not quite as good as Jerusalem (what is, though?), this is the second book in Tavares's "The Kingdom Quartet." It's focused on a single character--a ruthless surgeon turned politician, his mental philosophy, and his eventual death. The first half of this is a bit too long and repetitive . . . Tavares is at his best when everything is honed down into precise, sharp prose. He's also a master of writing *space,* something that's evident in the "Barrio" books and in Jerusalem. This novel is a bit too confined and localized to adequately display his skills.Anyway, I'm super jacked to read Joseph Walser's Machine though, especially since Joseph Walser pops up in this book (at a hospital, having lost a finger), and I've heard that some of the characters from Jerusalem show up in JWM . . . It'll be cool to see how this series starts tying itself together (at least a bit).

  • Ronald Morton
    2019-05-14 23:05

    It is rare to come across a full length novel where it is so apparent that every word has been so meticulously chosen and placed. Amongst those it is rarer still to encounter a book where the words chosen and the manner of their placement are so utterly unique. This is the type of book where you will find yourself re-reading sentences aloud to yourself just for the joy of hearing a phrase you’ve never heard before, but that is so perfectly expressed that you wonder why it’s only now being written.But this is not necessarily a book for everyone. This is book of infectious malignant cynicism. To wit:As a doctor, he did of course have an obligation – a professional one, and also on a practical, instrumental level – to position himself and to act on behalf of one side, the human side. But he was merely a soldier in the army that had founded the cities, no more than that: no one would ever hear him cry out for the cause of humanity, he would never suffer for his species just as he would never suffer for his scalpel if it broke accidentally. His way of approaching suffering was as an individual; he did not accept suffering that had been borrowed from others; compassion was an unnecessary feeling, or – as Lenz himself referred to it – a tool that serves no useful purpose in one’s existence: resolving nothing at all, in technical terms: like someone taking up a hammer to suture two tissues together.In brief: Lenz Buchmann was a successful surgeon, to whom Technique was everything. The perfections of one’s actions were the only morality he accepted. He loathed when his colleagues confused his competence with a sort of “goodness” and in retaliation sought increasing levels of depravity in his personal life. One day, while at a funeral he observed the mourners approach him as an individual but then watched as they approached the mayor as the city itself. And Lenz decided that he was tired of shaking hands as an individual, and instead would seek to shake hands with the city itself.And he rose in politics as he did in medicine, wielding the perfection of his Technique at all times.And then his Technique began to fail.This is a book about what happens to such a man, when he no longer controls the perfection of his deeds.

  • Cheryl
    2019-04-19 20:14

    Dr Lenz Buchmann is a surgeon so clinically distant, cold and carelessly cruel as to be sociopathic. He realises that his profession is no longer enough to contain his massive self-regard and desire to control everything and everyone, so he downs scalpel and embarks on a rapid ascent to the peaks of the ruling political party. And just when he is tantalisingly close to his goal, he is struck down, rapidly and cruelly, by illness. He must learn to adapt to the accumulating ironies of this karma.The author, Goncalo Tavares, is a critically acclaimed young Portugese author whose books are just beginning to be translated into English.

  • Jesús
    2019-05-02 00:15

    Prosa precisa y algo fría para narrar la historia de un cirujano competente y más bien cabrón que entra en política y recuerda un poco a Nietzsche en aquello de que los débiles deben perecer. Repetiré con Tavares, al que descubrí en esta misma página a través de Marisa y Rafa (no recuerdo quién fue primero).

  • Luna Miguel
    2019-05-05 00:15

    Una maldita maravilla.

  • Rafa
    2019-04-29 01:02

    Muy bueno, es un texto muy radical por lo que es difícil encontrar ritmo en la primera parte.

  • Will
    2019-04-20 19:19

    Trying to process this book is an interesting task. So below I've typed out some of my thoughts on where this book takes me in my mind, and two of my favorite quotes, both of which are perfectly Tavaresian in their brilliance, especially that second long passage, you can see all of the hallmarks of Tavares's style in those two paragraphs. I didn't enjoy this book as much as I did Jerusalem, but I don't read books to "enjoy" them. I love Tavares because he makes me think about things. Big things, little things, the way my eyes read words on a page, the way I look at people on the street and myself in the mirror, the way I think about what in the hell we're all doing on this planet. Tavares is definitely in the top list of writers I read for the first time in 2012 (along with Krasznahorkai, Lispector, Duras, Shishkin--a truly elite group). I highly recommend Learning to Pray in the Age of Technique."Reading demands a vitality that only someone capable of acting forcefully on the world is able to provide." (p. 110)In his essay on Gonçalo M. Tavares in the New Yorker, "Look at Your Hands", Mark O'Connell talks about the "defamiliarization" of Tavares's style, a style that reminds me at once of my favorite masters of "defamiliarization," Andrei Platonov and Clarice Lispector, in whose works the narrator sits at a detached distance from the characters, but with access to their most intimate thoughts and unconscious actions. This lends each author's work an air of philosophical power that I've rarely felt in any literature outside of the outright moralizers. The narrator in Tavares sits at a distance away from humanity, on a level that is both below and beside God, omniscient and omnipresent, there in the mind of Lenz Buchmann, the "hero" at the heart of Learning to Pray in the Age of Technique, and also, in a way, controlling his mind, forcing his hand into action (or in the book's twisted climax, inaction). Tavares is obsessed with evil, and the tools and mechanisms that define human behavior and, more broadly, the human condition. Lenz Buchmann is obsessed with the precision his hands act with, and he takes his precise technique to the upper echelons of political power in his nameless city and nameless country, working for the "Party." The three sections of the book are like three parts of our life cycle itself: Strength, Illness, Death. Lenz is obsessed with control and humiliation, they are how he derives his strength, until he is brought down by illness and succumbs to the weakness of death the same way he spent his entire conscious life despising and (secretly, it seems) dreading. So many themes are at work in Learning to Pray... and I've just finished the book...who knows, maybe I'll return to this review and write some more someday. Because Tavares's books grow on you, like a tumor in your brain, and you come back to them, the words come together in a way that I can't yet describe, but when you read these words next to each other on the page they are so powerful, so gripping, something is going on...I think Tavares is a genius, and I still don't even fully understand him and his power. But I will revel in it and learn and grow.Death to Lenz Buchmann!"Let's say that there was nothing at all false about this crying. Lenz's wife was sincere, there was nothing deliberate about it. What it was, though, was a manifestation of the impressive, inherent effectiveness of that mechanism we call a burial. Every person who cried--and several were seen to lower their heads--cried not for the dead man but because of the sound which the wheels of that mechanism gave out. There was--in the religious words being spoken, as much as in the near-universal movements of the soldiers lowering the coffin into the earth--a focus on a point that was common, not individual. The point uniting the community of those present was the feeling that any of them might the following day be the dead man to whom the others would be paying their respects. They were crying collectively for the failure of the city: they had not yet found the antidote to that noise which seemed to be broadcast at every burial. Each man claimed that death--and its modus operandi--would end before coming to take him. And at each funeral, saying good-bye to the dead was also a remembering of this common failure, indeed of the failure of humanity's loftiest desire: for its culture, its way of reasoning, to make a new world in which, during peace time, danger would be transformed into an energy that was not normal--extraordinary, even. The truth was, however, that in cities without war, danger may indeed become rare, but as for death, death continues in abundance; it would seem that man is incapable of taking control of its price: this was still low, acccesible, like any insignificant product. Death, each individual death, demonstrates cities' economic, technological, and cultural failure.This was why tears were shed at Albert Buchmann's funeral, just as at any other, not over the individual passing of a body but for the continuous passing of the community of mankind and of their most important project: immortality." (75-76)

  • Mariana Galvão
    2019-04-27 00:59

    Sublimemente singular.

  • Jesús Santana
    2019-05-02 22:15

    Me suelen atraer libros, películas o series con personajes que sean calculadores y violentos o por lo menos que se encuentren permanentemente en un estado de posible explosión en lo que respecta a lo salvaje y lo agresivo en su desenlace. Es por eso que he llegado luego de leer algunas excelentes criticas de gente en la que tengo plena confianza y con los que comparto gustos literarios similares a este libro hace ya un buen tiempo y del que tenía pendiente hacer un comentario luego de su lectura. El libro lleva por nombre “Aprender a rezar en la era de la técnica” y el autor es el portugués Gonçalo M. Tavares a quien conocía por trabajos anteriores y solo lo había leído muy por encima siempre viendo en su trabajo algo atractivo que lo hacía tenerlo pendiente, con este libro es ya mi primer encuentro pleno con una de sus novelas.La sola portada ya sirve de antesala para la historia de locura en la que uno se verá sumergido, Lenz Buchmann es un cirujano con una terrible frialdad sentimentalmente hablando y en su trabajo lo es mucho mas, cada día lo vive con la posible visita de la muerte en su trabajo y sabe que depende de su poder como medico para que ese paciente anestesiado continúe con su vida plenamente o simplemente deje de existir. Su niñez y su sexualidad es despertada de manera abrupta por su padre (un militar retirado) cuando en las dos primeras paginas este lo obliga a tener sexo violentamente con una de las criadas de su casa, esto junto a otras vivencias juveniles lo marcan y lo convierte en lo que él mismo se ha definido como un “Lobo”. Poco a poco y según se avanza Buchmann decide abandonar la medicina y descubre que la política es el lugar en el que puede tener un espacio mas importante para así expresar toda esa violencia conjuntamente con unas reflexiones filosóficas afiladas para terminar todo desencadenando una tercera parte que ya significa la caída o no aceptación de en quien se ha convertido o en quien siempre ha sido.Lenz Buchmann pasa por este viaje dividido en tres etapas formando los capítulos “Fuerza”, “Enfermedad” y “Muerte” ya con estos nombres queda claro el viacrucis por el que el lector va a tener que pasar gracias a este cirujano para el que todo enfermo es una cosa y que depende de su simple criterio que le devuelva el regalo de la vida o lo deje morir fríamente por placer, luego su crecimiento lo lleva a convertirse en un desalmado político obsesionado con el poder y el control absoluto para el que todo ser humano o ser vivo es simplemente un objeto y como tal hay que tratarlo, terminando ya en el tercer acto con una caída en picada y convirtiéndose en un personaje cada vez mas ahogado de pensamientos llenos de desasosiego y negatividad, mostrando por fuera quien siempre fue internamente.La forma en que escribe Tavares se sale un poco de lo normal, son capítulos cortos o muy cortos y excesivamente precisos, los pensamientos de Buchmann son violentos y directos, la vida y su naturaleza humana en líneas generales lo hacen un ser humano sin empatía alguna por nadie, para este protagonista la maldad tiene tres maneras de aparecer: se nace con ella, se hace o simplemente se despierta por el entorno que lo rodea a uno.“Aprender a rezar en la era de la técnica” no es un libro que recomendaría a cualquiera, no es que sea un libro complejo, todo lo contrario es un libro rápido a pesar de no ser corto, cada capitulo es una bofetada al lector por este personaje desalmado pero sin duda es un libro que quizás a muchos puede causarle un rechazo inmediato. La mejor prueba para saber si logrará leerla es lo que recomiendo siempre con otra novela que para muchos es muy fuerte “Los Chicos de las Taquillas” de Ryu Murakami si el interesado puede leer las primeras dos paginas y logra pasarlas es una novela para ese lector.“Aprender a rezar en la era de la técnica” es un libro para pensar y hacer sentir al lector o empatía por su protagonista o un odio y desagrado muy alto por este personaje. Lo he disfrutado mucho, no es un libro para todo el mundo pero su lectura sin lugar a dudas vale la pena.

  • Paul Fulcher
    2019-05-07 19:55

    A very powerful, frankly disturbing, portrait from Tavares's brilliant Kingdom series - in this case "the Kingdom of a man who attacks, and who knows that there are elements readying themselves to attack him in return". Tavares has spoken about how "during my childhood and adolescence, math was a huge influence", pure maths in particular, and there is definitely something mathematical about the precision and objectiveness of his language - indeed it also reminds one of a surgeon's scalpal, which is particularly apposite for this book.Lenz Buchmann's story starts with his career as a surgeon and ends, as he himself ultimately succumbs to the disease, with the battle between nature and people, death versus life and disease, particularly cancer (although the word isn't used until very late in the book) vs. health. But his world-view is very far from the archetypal newspaper headline of the person who dies after "a courageous battle against cancer" - Lenz sees himself as a dispassionate observer of the battle:"as a doctor he did have an obligation - a professional one, and also on a practical, instrumental level, to position himself and to act on on behalf of one side, the human side. But he was merely a soldier in the army that had found the cities no more than that: no one would ever here him cry out for the cause of humanity".And as for the courage of the cancer sufferer, in contrast Lenz Buchmann's life credo, as drummed into him by his father, is that "fear is illegal" and that "no true Buchmann could allow himself to die, gradually from illness. Only an abrupt, violent, death would be acceptable. By accident, war or through suicide."The middle part tells how Buchmann, after his brother's death from cancer "had made it even clearer that a weak man dies in a weak way", moves into politics, and was perhaps the weakest to me, simply because the view of politics is rather too allegorical. A couple of points relating to the rendition into English:Goodreads (I assume based on the publisher's publicity?) describes this as the 2nd in the Kingdom series. It was actually the 4th and lastof the series to be published in the original Portuguese, but the 2nd to be translated into English. Indeed the 1st of the original Kingdom series, Klaus Klump, is only due out later this year. So I think this should be approached as the culmination of the series and, as far as I recall, is the only one to make specific references to a Kingdom (see eg quote above). Secondly, the day after translation Thursday, it would be remiss not to acknowledge the excellent translation by Daniel Hahn. Interestingly he describes this as one of the hardest books he had to translate, in part because the sentences alter between very imprecise (Hahn is on record elsewhere as saying ambiguity is the hardest thing to translate) and very precise. I was a little disturbed to read however of:"a pretty significant edit once I was done, from a rigorous editor who approached it simply as an English-language reader—the result, I think, might be pulling away from my draft and producing something a little smoother for English-language readers."...which suggests some of the jarring nature of the original may have been lost in the edit.

  • Eugénio Lojo
    2019-05-04 18:04

    Vi-me agarrado desde a primeira página por uma maneira de narrar directa, crua e tremendamente funcional, sem concessões a preciosismos nem detalhes secundários à narração. O autor debruça-se directamente naquilo que quer contar, diria que antes como um pensador do que como um literato (se realmente existe divergência entre ambas coisas). A proliferação de capítulos e divisões dos capítulos faz pensar numa aproximação sistemática àquilo que se quer apreender. Num início esta aparente assepsia confunde-se com o pensamento de um personagem principal incapaz de qualquer empatia, mas posteriormente vai voltar-se contra ele, num jogo de perspectiva genial.

  • Sara Bôto
    2019-04-25 23:07

    Na minha opinião, é o MELHOR livro de Gonçalo M. Tavares. Foi o primeiro contacto que tive com aquele que é o hoje o meu escritor contemporâneo favorito e foi, sem dúvida, a obra que gerou maior impacto na minha vida, pela forma de ver a realidade do personagem principal, o apaixonante e bizarro Lenz Buchmann, e pela forma crua e realista, quase violenta, como são narrados os acontecimentos ao longo de todo o livro. Um livro para ler, reler e voltar a ler...

  • Kiril
    2019-05-16 21:18

    This is an interesting book to read. Quite disturbing and unusual, it kind of feels like you start living in the head of a monster. Unfortunately, this effort on the side of the author can be quite heavy at times -- for the entire book, there is only the perspective of a psychopath, without other perspectives, without any chapters where the reader can relax.