For those who do not know Mário de Sá Carneiro, he was part of the golden generation of portuguese Literature in the early XX century, along with such names as Fernando Pessoa and Almada Negreiros, which was then called "Geraçăo Orpheu", a modernistic and revolutionary group of artists that revolutionazed the art in Portugal.
This particular book gathers short stories with common themes and characteristics: the Mistery is always an important part of the story. The unknown, the unachievable, the imaginary is always perceived and potrayed as the idyllic and the desirable. Mário Sá Carneiro, more than being a pessimistic and a melancholic person, is someone who despise the mundane and reality. It was someone who lived in a constant existencial crisis, and he showed it in his books, including this one, there for the glorification of the unknown and the impossible, in deprivation of what exists and what it's real. The mythical figure of the "quimera", not the mythical criature, but the idea of perfection and something that belong's to the world of dreams, is communly refered by Sá Carneiro, in another signal of the adoration of the author thorwards the unachievable and the world of the imagination.
It's a very espiritual book, in which in every strory the emotional and espiritual aspect of the characters it's always the most important one, and the characters are always incredibly problematic in spirit. Melancholic, pessimistic, fatalistic and negativist. They even hate life, at many points of the book.
This leads to another crucial aspect of Sá Carneiro's work: death is presented as an ideal state. Death is frequentely presented as a better state than life, a way for the human being to save and preserve his spirit, a way of the human being to achieve eternal joy and happiness. Death is portrayed as a way to get to a superior stage of the human soul, in which it's nothing and everything, in which persons become living forces of the Universe, instead of a simple and low value being that walk's around in the world as a minor form of spirit.
Sá Carneiro's book as a strong surrealistic, metaphysical and spiritual component, which defies the commun understanding of life. A very good book, and i recommend it to everyone.