MEMORIES OF THE TEMPEST

MEMORIES OF THE TEMPEST is a novel that mixes fiction, an essay and memories. The central character is simultaneously an actor, spectator and narrator: he lives, narrates and meditates, telling his memoires, from birth to after his death. His considerations, quite original in both form and context, contrast light and shadow and comprise themes such as: love, sexuality, racism, violence, youth, drugs, religion, spirituality, politics, old age, sickness and death, the philosophical sense of existence and other themes. The central character, devoid of a name, is bare of heroism and the story developes in the midst of an intimistic, dramatic, deep, complex perspective. Some chapters have a dominant theme, guiding the narrative towards a specific temporality, which, on the whole, means that the character lives simultaneously in different worlds of probabilities or parallel spaces/time. Some dreams are described by emphasizing the subjectivity of the text, which unfolds from a personal unconsciousness to a collective one of symbols and myths. The chapters are divided into blocks, which sometimes have more autonomy and flirt along with other literary genders, as tales, chronicles, essays and poetry, composing a mosaic of post-modern universalism. The book begins and ends with a quotation of Shakespeare´s “The Tempest” and two characters (Ariel and Miranda) are named after the ones in the play. In the book, the narrator describes the childhood and youth of the character, his family context and juvenile rebellions, enthralled in a backstage of adolescent global activities. The character becomes a painter and sculpturer, a professor of art, a union militant and deputy, until he gives up politics and reassumes his creative life until his old age. In the personal context there are many love affairs, he marries and gets divorced more than once, has children, lives through tragedies and dramas, seeks shelter in spirituality, faces objective and subjective challenges, until he finds a bit of peace in wisdom. The debut of ANTONIO HENRIQUES’ novel reveals a mature and original writer, which is certainly a surprise in the contemporary Brazilian literary panorama. “Memories of the Tempest” will be, no doubt, a literary landmark, because it points towards new tendencies and directions, according to the globalization of culture. Rui Barbosa de Souza (the Editor)

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Extract from the book “MEMORIES OF THE TEMPEST”

What we call death was for me to descend into a dark and circular tunnel, in which I flowed towards the light at its end. As I moved myself, slowly and lightly like a cloud guided by the wind, I realized that the tunnel lead to another world: a luminous, clear, bright and blinding one, like sunlight. My body possessed neither weight nor density, it was a dazzling and transparent vapour hovering in space like a tender humming-bird. Silence inside me sounded like buzzing bees or ringing bells. At the end of the tunnel, I saw myself clothed in golden light and encountered someone waiting for me. It was a diaphanous creature, which irradiated a loving smile while it approached me. There was such great serenity and profound peace in the atmosphere that I believed to be in heaven, which for me has always existed in my feeling of joy. Then I realized that the angel-like being, was a woman… So I suspected I was dead although this thought didn´t worry me. My wife and son appeared to me in my mind and a somewhat discomfort passed through my being like a shudder. I wished to return, closed my eyes and saw myself with open eyes inside a hospital room. I woke up from a deep sleep, but continued dreaming. I couldn´t feel the weight of my body and the objects were invested with their own luminosity, which flowed from the inside, as if there were no source of light. I perceived that everything vibrated and that things didn´t have that static energy of matter. It just crossed my mind that I might be ill and that my state was equivalent to death. A quiver took hold of me with the impression that the unknown was besieging and threatening me. I tried to touch the walls near me and they were pierced with no effort at all, as if matter were a vaporous cloud, visible from a distance, but transparent and untouchable in nearness: I was terror struck. I remembered a sacred text “he looked all around him and only saw his own self: what should he be afraid of then?” Looking around, I began to calm down and relax. Breathing deeply I thought: whatever may be the case, it surely is worth penetrating another world and knowing the darkness and strangeness, to prove and apply my occult knowledge. So I started testing the mystic characteristics of a magic reality, studied by me in ancient second-hand books. I firmly mentalized a tree and saw it materialize above my head. I wished to be on o rock, at the seaside, at the White Cape beach and instantaneously I saw myself there, admiring the ocean with its foaming waves. I looked at my old and decrepid body and wished to be young again. And I was transformed until I assumed the appearance I had at the age of thirty. I then understood that I wasn´t in a universe of physical matter any more, that my body of flesh and bones was probably rotting in some toomb in a cemitery of the town were I used to live. I shuddered once more, not due to fright but comprehending the fascinating experience I was having in complete solitude. I wished to have someone beside me and felt the presence of my Master, who put his hand on my shoulder and said as if someone were seeking inside my brain: – You´re welcome. Now we can be together without any interference – and smiled, radiating light from his glance and mouth. You have sought for knowledge above all and you have already realized that wisdom cannot be found in books or in other people´s experience. You perceived that it is by living that someone becomes a sage, meditating on experience, not in the sense of a fixed theme or intellectual work, but in a way that we are not found asleep by a shoal of fish during fishing. To know is an instantaneous and direct action and it is not transmittable and can only be shared. (…) – So don´t feel vain about what you do, you simply accomplish your duty with resignation and tenacity, knowing that you are God´s channel in nature, part of creation and imperfection, not as a mistake, but as that which enables movement, the process of truth, transformation. – Am I alive? – I asked overwhelmed and joyful. – Yes, your physical body is asleep, but soon it will wake up, you will go back to the world of the living ones to carry out the instructions I´ll be giving you. Right now you are sick, but you will slowly recover your health so that you may accomplish an order until the time of your definite death. Your task is to write down your memoires, to relate your experiences, thoughts and discoveries, adding whatever you learn in these planes of pleasure and suffering. – (…) – He stood up, pointed towards a shadow walking in the sand, far away. – Go there – he ordered. And forgetting my capacity of instantaneous movement I began to run, lightly, against the wind, seeing the diaphanous and luminous shadow growing bigger in my direction. It was a lovely woman whom I did not recognize immediately, but she aroused an immense joy inside me, with the conviction of an intimate and ancestral familiarity. Without hesitating, I walked in her direction and flung myself into her arms. Amazingly our bodies mutually interpenetrated each other, but without the frustration of a hug or of the impossibility of touch or feeling. Colored sparkles of light were discharged from our ethereal bodies. Finally, we separated ourselves and calmly, facing the majestic landscape, we walked side by side along the beach. – Don´t you remember who I am? Uneasy and joyful, I shook my head expressing my forgetfulness. She then stopped me, touched my forehead with her fingers and so my vision was opened: – I remember! You are the woman of my dreams, my protecting angel – I told her, considering the memory of hope and blessings I had received from her in many difficult times. She nodded, smiling, in silence, due to the abundance of emotions and comprehension. So, without being in a hurry, we moved along the stretch which still separated us from the beach. Finally she told me her name: Miranda. From now on, I became her dilligent student in the lessons she gave me about the world we were in, until at a certain moment I thought: – Is this just a mere dream? What allows me to think that Miranda is real? Could it be that I´m going mad? Who knows it might be just a hallucination ? I looked at her, who straightening out her hand to me, pleaded: – No, please, no! If you doubt, you´ll break the spell and we won´t be able to walk together over the water. Please believe it, trust me … And while she talked, her image began to fade and became distant, until disappearing completely in a murmur, a vague spot in the distance. And I saw myself alone, surrounded by darkness and emptiness. I then understood that we live in the world of our thoughts. And realizing that, I tried to repair the mistake and channelled my attention to something positive, proceeding and worthy. I deleted frivolousness, doubt and foolishness in a firm and persistent manner and in my heart and mind I mentalized without faltering, the radiant image of Miranda. And I watched her being formed in front of me, lovely and luminous, while her sweet voice echoed inside my ears. – Thank you, sweetheart, for believing, now not only do I exist but also being together will be possible. And it will be whatever we build inside our hearts: I really love you – I said, hugging me through herself, entering my ethereal body, while I surrendered to her, immersed in her caress…. I have to go now. I saw her image withdraw little by little. An instantaneous tiredness enraptured me. I closed my eyes and when I opened them, I was inside my physical body in a hospital bed and beside me was my son Ariel. – Oh, finally you woke up. We were afraid, Dad – said my son with tears in his eyes, squeezing my hands firmly. I answered painfully: – I´m all right, under any condition God is beside me (…) The angel of death had been at my bedside for months, but he decided that it wasn´t yet time for me to go, it was still necessary for me to suffer more, to go on surviving. My consciousness was blurred, mingling hallucination and reality, allowing me to dream while being awake. Somehow, I was now living in both worlds at the same time among the live and the dead. (…) For me emotions and feelings had never been a question of balance, thence the eccentricity, for men don´t fathom things. They prefer the obese accomodation instead of the surfice´s agitation, as they don´t know how to face obstacles assuming risks. The essencial thing in my life is neither what I lived, nor what I loved or did. The main thing resides in what was left of what I did and what was possible to do, and points out beyond what I did and pretended to do. Beyond action we find thought and beyond the latter, intuition, direct vision, a revelation of sacredness. To remember is not only to recover facts but mainly to comprehend their effect on sense and the direction. A fact is not only action, it is a whole true dimension, bestowed with passion and madness. (…) Writing has nothing to do with painting or sculpting. I would prefer to paint his narrative instead of writing it, but I know that would be impossible. I must speak, and writing is almost of way of saying things… (…) I´ve always been an artist, but one of shape and color, not of sounds or words. However, feeling that my time has arrived, it´s extremely necessary for me to tell my story. Not that it may be exceptional or grandiose, but it´s my story. I must transmit my experiences in order to filter my learning, for I will only take with me the essence of what I lived. I will be able to reconstruct myself through the account of my life. The one who learns, changes, doesn´t need to repeat mistakes or experiences. (…) That´s why the time has come, not only to talk about myself to others, but also to obscenely undress my soul. Right now, I don´t feel vulnerable about the decision of uncovering myself in public. I was born naked, so there´s no point in keeping a secret of what isn´t sacred. Even that which is divine, may and should surface, for “everything that is occult will be revealed one day”. You can´t keep a candle lit inside a drawer, on the contrary, it should be held high above everyone so that no one be hidden from its light. This necessity of saying things is humiliating to me, but as words are vital to me, may they be true and courageous. There is an impetousity in me for flowing without fright, for relating what I never thought I knew. But I would like to start from the beginning…

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