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A General Theory of Oblivion

by José Eduardo Agualusa

This book tells the story of a Portuguese woman Ludo who locks herself into her apartment with Angola on the brink of independence in 1975. Based on a true story. The third person narrative follows Ludo as lives a survivalist life locked in her apartment for decades as Angola transforms outside. I read this book as part of Cambridge African literature book club, and did my own research into Angolan history. This book is poetic and powerful and can be read on a weekend.


Angola is located in south western Africa and its capital is Luanda. It gained its independence from Portuguese rule in 1975. At the point of independence there was an exodus of the skilled labor when the Portuguese suddenly left the country, because of the weakness in local education there was not enough Angolans to fill up these jobs. Angola has been in the news as of 2020 as Isabel dos Santos a billionaire businesswoman and daughter of former preseident. She is under investigation for embezzlement and money laundering.

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