The Creation of the World is the autobiography of one of Portugal's most celebrated modern writers, Miguel Torga. Six days comprise The Creation, published in English in its entirety for the first time. We begin with Torga's childhood in the wilderness of the Tres-os-Montes, as son of an illiterate peasant family scraping a living off the rocky flanks of the Mountain; and a boyhood of near servitude to his uncle in Brazil, on a remote estate carved out of the sertão, an alarming setting for an anxious adolescence.
The Creation is more than narrative: 'I do not write a chronicle of my life, but a parable,' he says. Returning to Portugal, he resumed an education curtailed by poverty. He qualified as a doctor and returned to his native village, where his celebrated Tales are set. He experienced the banning of his books and imprisonment by the Salazar regime. 'To be a writer in Portugal, ' he confides, 'is like being buried alive and constantly scratching at the lid of one's coffin.' Even after the Revolution in 1974, Torga kept his own counsel. He was feted and translated into most of the languages of Europe, but by temperament he was a man of the Tres-os-Montes, committed to his people. His books — more than fifty by the time he died in 1995 — possess an exemplary integrity. The Independent described the author as 'that great fighter for human dignity and individuality'.