considered one of the best books of the year by Sábado and Visão magazines
a novella inside 7 short stories, one for each day of the week, one off limits preface, one stage direction and an empty epitaph to be filled in.
“We keep searching for the spot where reason comes from ignoring that logic will never prevent us from pain. We make sense because we are able to fall, not because we might be able to fly.”
Patrícia Portela on saturday
“We are all zombies, nor flesh, nor fish, not alive, not dead, and there is no contingency plan for such unsurmountable natural catastrophe.”
Patrícia Portela on monday
Living according to Patrícia Portela by Miguel Real in Jornal de Letras, 12 07 17
“In Dias Úteis Patrícia Portela operates the aesthetical miracle of transforming the enumeration of the days of the week and its daily content in a perfect synthesis of her interpretation of Life (…)
(…) the motto of this novela or collection of short stories is unified by this paradoxal idea: it is chance and contingency that command life, not determinism; it is need, not society institutional constraint; it is less coercion than moral duty, and yet (and here lies the paradox) all chance is the result of human effort, what we designate as “luck” (or fortune, or destiny in more classical terms), and it is born from the spatial and temporal contingency of Being there (p. 15, 2º e 3ºs).
Once in a while our “useful days” (Dias Úteis) are abruptly interrupted; we notice a wonder, we are astonished, amazed: there is a “big trapdoor”, a “hole of the world” (p.21) paraphrase of the UNPREDICTABILITY of Existence; there is no reason, no what, no why for Life – the players, incapable of overcoming such astonishment, such metaphysical hole, mask it with Religion, Philosophy, Science, Ideologies, Indubitable certainties that can feed our “useful days”.
(…) truly said, (DIAS ÚTEIS) is a real punch in the stomach of the Reader.
(…) in a melancholic text and an ironic tone, Patrícia Portela makes evident the exhaustion of our civilization, the “matrix” that has guided us for 2500 years. A novela one should not feel, but instead truly think about… “
Unattended prayers – Sílvia Souto Cunha in Visão, 13 07 17
“A new and striking book from a gifted writer who is capable of subverting and reinventing the great “machine of the world” (…).
If there were gods who created the world in six days taking a rest on the seventh, Patrícia Portela may now call herself the demiurge of an admirable week. (…) Following a recognizable temporal logic, with each chapter attributed to a day in the week, Patrícia Portela torpedoes predictability with philosophical escapes and stage instructions. (and) writes about death, love, identity, refugees, loss, the planet, dreams – in a truly original manner. (Portela) impresses us with a powerful visual portrait of a failed departure from home, (…) an allusion to those who have lost their homes but also their countries (…) Friday (as) a mourning day (…) (DIAS ÚTEIS) is a “Judas’ kiss”, she warns us…
The meaning of the Game by José Mário Silva in Expresso, 07-17
“The fact that the reader never knows what to expect from a Portela text is one of the best qualities of her writing. (…) In her new short stories book, Patrícia Portela reveals once again her immense literary talent and her effervescent imagination.”
In the literary works of Patrícia Portela, one of the most complete Portuguese multidisciplinary artists, we can find experimental fictions written in an almost savage inventiveness – strange objects that leave the reader without knowing which position to take or what to expect. “Dias Úteis” is no exception: it opens with a “Preface” longer than any other story, closes with an unwritten “Epitaph” and includes “stage notes” where the book itself takes the main stage and addresses the reader directly to explain how it should be read. (…) The narratives, one for each day of the week, are exercises on the imminence of falling. Real and imaginary dives abound, abysses, dreamlike deliriums, mental labyrinths, aimless wanderings. (…) Always present, as much lucid as melancholic, there is an awareness of our precarious position in the natural order of things: “We look for the exact place where reason comes from ignoring that logic will never avoid pain. We make sense because we are able to fall, not because we will be able to fly”.
“Is there enthusiasm without illusion?” – Hugo Pinto dos Santos in Público, 07 17
Literary genres, modalities of expression and expected achievements, they all get an inventive treatment under the rebel hand of Patricia Portela. An exercise in speculation and incitement on the complexity and enigma of a daily routine. (…) DIAS ÚTEIS is the political denouncement of an era that has projected an utopia that redundantly ended in dystopia (but) is not exactly about disenchantment; instead, human matter becomes working matter from the perspective of a certain notion of despair that intends to cause a reaction that can shake off the accumulated dust we carry due to our inertia. This is how the build-up of common places both in the phraseology and in the routine becomes a cutting weapon, a pitch against the psychological (and physical) violence of a self-destructive daily life. (…) The cliché is used as a technique to handle the most powerful of all clichés: everyday life. To explore it as a caricature of itself with it’s excesses and it’s incommensurability is but one of the devises of this book. (…) Just as in A Colecção Privada de Acácio Nobre (Caminho, 2016), with it’s principle of indetermination — of the literary genre and of everything else – or in O Banquete, (Caminho, 2012) making use of a scientific discourse, DIAS ÚTEIS is a disassembly of the several attributes of the literary system: the confession, the genre, the art forms, the grid where the narrative categories do (not) fit in, the solidity and the reliability of a narrator’s voice.
(…) Patrícia Portela seems to be searching for the refusal of an univocal voice while uniting essay and fiction, drama and drift in a text that seduces all genres to thoroughly refuse being reduced to any of them.
LIFE IN FREE STYLE – João Gobern In Diário de Notícias
Portela insists on subverting the norm, just as she did in previous books. (…)
In DIAS ÚTEIS – almost everything can happen, from intimate, intense and anguished reflections, to one of those endless preparations to go on a vacation trip that we know are bound to only happen in our dreams, to a creepy and indelible farewell. Each step shows us the most distinctive and adequate writing. There are rhythms for (almost) all tastes. There are afflicted confessions, exercises in style. Soon we conclude that really useful will be the day we will get to return to the challenges of this woman that never seems to depart from the place where we last left her. A woman that never knows where she will arrive at. But for sure she will get far, pretty far.
THE ART OF EXISTING –André Santos in Sábado
DIAS ÚTEIS by Patrícia Portela works the daily life impasses and constructs a week where each day is a plan to solve the everyday spiral. (…) The elasticity of the introduction creates the ideal rhythm with which the author works her words and concepts in the following chapters. Her writing is a weapon that breaks the routine of the protagonist and enables us to read some humour in DIAS ÚTEIS. After all… There is always something witty in the frustrations we can all recognize in one another.