Now and at the Hour of Our Death by Susana Moreira Marques (tr. Julia Sanches)

a nutshell: in rural north-eastern Portugal, alongside a palliative care team, Moreira Marques meets families as they face up to losing a loved one – recording their emotions and histories

a line: “Grass as tall as children, on the roadside, dancing. In the horizon, hills meeting like lovers. All this in the deepest purple, seconds after the sun sets.”

an image: one conversation in which a daughter recounts long, lonely drives to visit her bedridden father had me in tears – particularly when she berates herself for things left unsaid

a thought: I was also strongly moved by the value that Moreira Marques attaches to not leaving history to be written ‘by the rich’, leading her to sit until sunset with an elderly couple, Senhor João and Senhora Maria, so they could speak tenderly of all they had lived as well as to speak of death

a fact: to write this the author travelled to Trás-os-Montes – which translates as ‘Behind the Mountains’ – and among the individuals she gets to know are several with strikingly self-sufficient lifestyles, growing their own produce both here and during their past in colonised Angola


want to read Now and at the Hour of Our Death? visit here

6 thoughts on “Now and at the Hour of Our Death by Susana Moreira Marques (tr. Julia Sanches)

  1. Thank you. I would never have come across this vivid book without your blog. I have read it whilst I am travelling around northern Portugal with my daughters.

    The strong sense of other’s lives, at once ordinary and unique, and at the unique and ordinary moment of death, was exhilarating to read. I longed for more, if I am to be honest.

    “We are the others”

    Thank you


    1. That’s very heartening to hear! I really enjoy reading books connected with where I am 🙂

      Hopefully there’ll be more from this author/journalist, I agree!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree, I’m in Lisboa now and just started In Your Hands by Inês Pedrosa, from the “readers’ tips” section of this site, and loving it to far.


      2. I wanted to come back just to say I absolutely loved In Your Hands (Ines Pedrosa), beautifully written and fascinating I will without a doubt be re-reading. Thanks so much to whoever it was that suggested it!


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