Letter from a Hunchback Girl to a Metalworker

by Pessoa, Fernando

Fernando Pessoa has been a long-standing point of not insignificant fixation in the writerly pursuits of Your Faithful (If Not Schedularly Published) Storyteller, for reasons that will be forehead-smackingly obvious to some of you. As for the rest of you, rather than stand around in the dark, I welcome you to take a guess.

Should you want that guess to be educated, start here. And then go read The Book of Disquiet

From the printed introduction to tonight’s story (from The Selected Prose of Fernando Pessoa):

Among the dozens of names under which Fernando Pessoa wrote an which, in a certain way, wrote Pessoa, there was one female persona, called Maria José. The letter attributed to her was typed on three and a half pages, but Pessoa-Maria signed her name next to the title. One of the striking features of the letter is the language, for Pessoa succeeds in rendering the simple but long-winded diction characteristic of Maria José’s economically disadvantaged social class. He also reveals, in spite of his oft-declared disinterest in matters of love and sexuality, a remarkable capacity to evoke a woman’s hopeless love for a man.

On another note, the ‘casts have been unspooling a little more slowly than usual lately, and for that I’m truly sorry, and am sorrier still that after such a long wait, you’re only getting ten minutes out of me today.

We can only hope that this is something I’m making up for in quality.

There are reasons for these delays, good reasons which may mean exciting things for our little adventure in storytelling and anecdotage. But in the meantime, know that the next one will be long enough for you to wish it was over already.


In other news, there are some chapters of The Man Who Can’t Die expected up this week, so you should catch up. And my friends at Iambik have just released some titillating new independent crime and noir audiobooks that you might like. While you’re over there, you might leave a rating or review for Icelander, if you’ve listened. And if you haven’t, why not?

Article written by miette

Miette has been podcasting the best of world literature's short fiction since March 2005, when she was just a pup.

5 Responses

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  1. D. Sherter
    D. Sherter March 27, 2011 at 9:36 am |

    This one made me a little queasy, but I could be wrong. The whole thing with Pessoa (based on the little I know) is a little alarming – pointedly disappearing while writing – does it count if you actually publish? Here’s something you might enjoy. Quick reading: angry, loving, tremulous, yearning, sincere, willing to commit hard to a persona.
    http://insultedbyauthors.com/blog/

  2. miette
    miette March 29, 2011 at 10:56 am |

    Yes, it can be quease-inducing, for sure! I’m pretty sensitive to his M.O., though, and think that it “counts” the second it comes off the pen/keyboard/blood-poked finger. I mean, we’re all disingenuous to a degree, and the line between poetic license and, you know, bullshit, is a line that’s sometimes impossible to see. And the Book of Disquiet is breath-snatchingly gorgeous.

    (But thank you as always for listening and beaming your thoughts)

    (Yes, I only took note of that website a couple of days ago, and think these should be stamped on rejection letters…!)

  3. D. Sherter
    D. Sherter March 29, 2011 at 6:39 pm |

    Well, based on your stamp I went and read ABOUT Mr. noone – because God forbid I should actually dive in and read when it’s been usefully slavered over by somebody else’s digestive readership and have to say I’m much less flip bout him (them) than I was a while ago. It’s possible that Ill google a snatch of translation even – again based on your rec. Your gallantly oblique l intro however begs the question of how fractally spread out the Miettes are on the table cloth of the net…and how many in fact hidden in the folds of this crisp white e-cloth…

  4. D. Sherter
    D. Sherter March 29, 2011 at 6:51 pm |

    p.s. as always your reading is translucent and perfect and makes me wonder if I could spot your writing from the plover-tracks of your pauses…

  5. Richard Ferrie
    Richard Ferrie December 29, 2011 at 12:45 pm |

    Dearest Miette,

    I had only heard of Pessoa and so your wonderous reading of this story penetrated my virgin’s innocence. Some have commented on his “genius,” leading me to think, Well, there’s an over-used word. But in this tale Pessoa immerses us so completely in the being of the hunchback that for a time we can’t imagine any other way of looking at the human experience but through her eyes.

    Genius.

    Thank you–again.

    For one thing, you reawakened my interest in Babel and the recent translations of his work.

    Please stay warm and happy through these cold days. Your voice sparks so many of us into staying alive. I’m sorry we’re such dogs for being addicted to getting it for free.

    Best wishes,

    Richard Ferrie

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