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Backstage: What Can I Do When Everything's On Fire? LIVE Shorts

September 23, 2008

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"What Can I Do When Everything's On Fire?," ANTÓNIO LOBO ANTUNES in conversation with Paul Holdengräber, LIVE from the NYPL Lite, September 23, 2008. In "What Can I Do When Everything's On Fire?", the preeminent Portuguese novelist António Lobo Antunes, who trained as a psychiatrist and spent four year in the Portuguese army during the Angolan War, tells a story of sanity lost, of madness and consumption. This is a saga of growing old, of loving no matter what, and finally of a young man ineluctably coming to terms with the sins of his father and the life he has inherited now. Based on a real life story and set in the steamy world of Lisbon's nightclub milieu of the 1990s—a baleful planet populated by drag queens, clowns, and drug addicts—the son of a legendary transvestite searches for his identity as he recalls the harrowing death of his father. The razor-thin line between reality and madness is fully transgressed in Lobo Antunes's first novel to appear in English in five years.