Posted in Portuguese

As Telefones – Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida

Today’s post is a review of “As Telefones*” by Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida.

Este livro deu-me água pela barba**. É fino mas o vocabulário é difícil. Mas, apesar de ser uma leitura desafiante, não fiquei aborrecido porque a autora, Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida, sabe escrever. As frases fluem bem e há momentos de humor, tal como a conversa entre a mãe e a filha na qual a mãe explica que espíritos malignos começam a voar às três de manhã. Afirma que estes espíritos entram pelas janelas abertas e “aproveitam-se das mulheres que dormem sem cuecas”. Acrescenta que essas mulheres dão à luz (ou seja dão à escuridão) bebés que elas amamentam no mundo dos espíritos como amantes do diabo. Quando se acordam nem sequer percebem que já não são elas mesmas, mas estão a viver uma vida paralela no mundo das trevas. Sim senhora.

As telefones de Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida
As Telefones

Mas além destas opiniões malucas da velha, há uma sensação comovente perante a relação entre mãe e filha que se conduz na série de conversas por telemóvel e pessoal.

* Wait, what? Telefone is a masculine word so why isn’t it Os Telefones. I asked about this on reddit r/Portuguese and nobody was very sure, not having read the book, but the popular theory (best explained by u/Uyth) was that it was “Uma Alcunha” – a kind of nickname, usually based on some physical characteristic of a person (think “Blackbeard” in English). Why would that be? Well, sometimes you’ll see a placename like “O Arco do Bandeira” where the article doesn’t match the noun. In this example, Bandeira means flag and it is a feminine word. The reason for the mismatch is because Bandeira isn’t a word as such, it’s someone’s name – a businessman named Pires Bandeira had the arch built in the Baixa Pombalina district and it is still named after him today. If the person has an alcunha, it works the same way. Say if someone has been given a nickname which is a feminine word (say “carica”), but they are male. He would be called “o carica” – the feminine word gets a masculine article because of who the name is attached to. So in the title of the book, maybe the Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida is referring to these women as The Telephones because the book is about their long-distance conversations – and that’s why she used “As” in place of “Os”. Best guess. It isn’t spelled out in the book, but that’s what it seems like.

**Não costumo usar barba mas demorei tanto por causa de olhar no dicionário tantas vezes que a minha barba cresceu e já pareço Moisés.

Author:

Just a data nerd

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