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By Gonçalo M. Tavares

ISBN: 9781564785558

Publication Date: 11/1/2009

One morning late in May, between three and six a.m., a group of lonely men and women wait to be brought together, like the elements in an equation. Ernst Spengler is about to throw himself out his window. Mylia, terminally ill and in enormous pain, goes out to visit a church. Hinnerk Obst, who’s always been told by the neighborhood children that he looks like a murderer, walks the streets with a loaded gun. As these characters are manipulated and brought together, a world of violence, fear, pain, and uncertainty is portrayed, where human nature itself, and the mechanisms determining our actions, our fictions, and the elements of our imagination, are laid bare. Jerusalem is a terrifying and grimly humorous summation of the possibilities and limits of the human condition at the beginning of the 21st century.


"Gonçalo M. Tavares burst onto the Portuguese literary scene armed with an utterly original imagination that broke through all the traditional imaginative boundaries. This, combined with a language entirely his own, mingling bold invention and a mastery of the colloquial, means that it would be no exaggeration to say with no disrespect to the young Portuguese novelists writing today that there is very much a before Gonçalo M. Tavares and an after . . . I've predicted that in thirty years time, if not before, he will win the Nobel Prize and I'm sure my prediction will come true." —Jose Saramago

"This is a powerful little book and Dalkey Archive should be commended for bringing it to an anglophone audience." —Toby Lichtig

"Yes, it's bleak but it's also daring, thought-provoking and brilliant." —Daniel Hahn

Biographical Information

Gonçalo M. Tavares is a Portuguese writer whose books have been published in more than 30 countries. In 2021, he won the Prix Laure Bataillon for Le Quartier; his novel Jerusalem has been included in the European edition of 1001 Books to Read Before You Die.