When Pereira employs a student to write some articles, however, that precipitates his unlikely transformation into a hero. Monteiro Rossi delivers impossible pieces on the most unsuitable people — Lorca and Mayakovsky even! — and his girlfriend is a firebrand. Pereira supports them anyway, for reasons not clear to him — is he thinking of the son he might have had, perhaps, or is "a new ruling ego obtaining leadership of his confederation of souls", as Dr Cardoso suggests? A steady progression of events leads to a dramatic conclusion, with Pereira striking a blow against tyranny and embarking on a new life.
Dramatic but understated, Declares Pereira (Sostiene Pereira) is a fine psychological study, a compelling account of a political awakening. The title derives from a curious feature of the novel's style: it is written in the third person, from Pereira's perspective, but nearly every paragraph is decorated with a "..., declares Pereira" or "Pereira declares ...". The context of Pereira's declarations and his audience are never explained — is he safe in exile, addressing a circle of friends, or is the whole narrative the report of a fascist interrogator? But Antonio Tabucchi's subject is not the fate of the butterfly but the more dramatic metamorphosis of the caterpillar — which retains its mystery despite the transparent narrative.