Industrial Park: A Proletarian Novel

Original title: Parque Industrial
Author: Patrícia Galvão (Pagu)
Translator: Elizabeth Jackson, K. David Jackson

A member of Brazil’s avant-garde in its heyday. Patricia Galvão (or to use her nickname, Pagu) was extraordinary. Not only was her work among the most exciting and innovative published in the 1930s, it was unique in portraying an avant-garde woman’s view of women in São Paulo during that audacious period. Industrial Park, first published in 1933, is Galvão’s most notable literary achieve-ment. Like Doblin’s portrayal of Berlin in Alexanderplatz or Biely’s St Petersburg, it is a book about the voices, clashes, and traffic of a city in the middle of rapid change. It includes fragments of public documents as well as dialogue and narration, giving a panorama of the city in a sequence of colorful slices. The novel dramatizes the problems of exploitation, poverty, racial prejudice, prostitution, state repression, and neocolonialism, but it is by no means a doctrinaire tract. Galvao’s ironic wit pervades the novel, aspiring not only to describe the teeming city but also to put art and politics in each other’s service. Like many of her contemporaries Galvao was a member of the Brazilian Communist Party. She attracted Party criticism for her unorthodox behavior and outspokenness. A visit to Moscow in 1934 disenchanted her with the communist state, but she continued to militate for change upon returning to Brazil. She was imprisoned and tortured under the Vargas dictatorship between 1935 and 1940. In the 1940s she returned to the public through her journalism and literary activities. She died in 1962. (Source: publisher)

Industrial Park_Pagu

Paperback: 168 pages
Publisher: University of Nebraska (1 Nov. 1993)
Translator: Elizabeth Jackson, K. David Jackson
ISBN-10: 0803270410
ISBN-13: 978-0803270411
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Diary of the Fall

Original title: Diário da queda (2011)
Author: Michel Laub
Translator: Margaret Jull Costa

Shortlisted for the 2016 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

‘I often dreamed about the moment of the fall, a silence that lasted a second, possibly two, a room full of sixty people and no one making a sound, as if everyone were waiting for my classmate to cry out … but he lay on the ground with his eyes closed’

A schoolboy prank goes horribly wrong, and a thirteen-year-old boy is left injured. Years later, one of the classmates relives the episode as he tries to come to terms with his demons.

Diary of the Fall is the story of three generations: a man examining the mistakes of his past, and his struggle for forgiveness; a father with Alzheimer’s, for whom recording every memory has become an obsession; and a grandfather who survived Auschwitz, filling notebook after notebook with the false memories of someone desperate to forget.

Michel Laub’s novel asks the most basic – and yet most complex – questions about history and identity, exploring what stories we choose to tell about ourselves and how we become the people we are. (Source: publisher)

Diary of the Fall_2_Michel Laub

Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Harvill Secker (3 April 2014)
Translator: Margaret Jull Costa
ISBN-10: 1846557321
ISBN-13: 978-1846557323
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Diary of the Fall_3_Michel Laub

Hardcover: 225 pages
Publisher: Other Press (NY); Reprint edition (26 Aug. 2014)
Translator: Margaret Jull Costa
ISBN-10: 1590516516
ISBN-13: 978-1590516515
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Diary of the Fall_Michel Laub

Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Vintage (16 April 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0099581795
ISBN-13: 978-0099581796
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Original title: K. – Relato de uma Busca (2011)
Author: Bernardo Kucinski
Translator: Sue Branford

Shortlisted for the 2015 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

A remarkable novel written by the Brazilian journalist Bernardo Kucinski. K is the story of a father who searches desperately for his daughter, ‘disappeared’ during the military dictatorship in Brazil. The father is himself a refugee from Poland in the 1930s. He is racked by feelings of guilt—that because he was immersed in his Yiddish writing and scholarship, he did not really know his daughter or the danger that threatened her. The novel is based on a true story – the disappearance of Kucinski’s younger sister in 1973. As the author says, ‘Everything in this book is invented but almost everything happened’. The first Brazilian edition sold out in a few weeks, and the novel has been shortlisted for literary awards in Brazil and Portugal. (Source: publisher)

K_Bernardo Kucinski

Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Latin America Bureau (29 Jan. 2013)
Translator: Sue Branford
ISBN-10: 189936577X
ISBN-13: 978-1899365777
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Original title: Helena (1876)
Author: Machado de Assis
Translator: Helen Caldwell

In 1850 Rio de Janeiro, Estacio tries to uncover the mysterious past of Helena, his presumed half sister, who has been brought to the family home and with whom he falls in love.

Helena_Machado de Assis

Hardcover: 197 pages
Publisher: University of California Press (1984)
Translator: Helen Caldwell
ISBN-10: 0520048121
ISBN-13: 978-0520048126
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Paperback: 197 pages
Publisher: University of California Press (1987)
Translator: Helen Caldwell
ISBN-10: 0520060253
ISBN-13: 978-0520060258
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Counselor Ayres’ Memorial / The Wager: Aires’ Journal

Original title: Memorial de Aires (1908)
Author: Machado de Assis
Translator: Various, see each edition below

The last of Machado de Assis’s novels, published in 1908, the year of his death, Counselor Ayres’ Memorial has been regarded as his swan- song and, given its melancholic tone, his ‘reconciliation with life’. In fact it is much more interesting than that. Its central character is Counselor Ayres, a Brazilian diplomat who has retired to Rio de Janeiro after many years abroad. The novel purports to be his diary for the period between January 1888 and August 1889: in fact, it soon becomes plain to the reader that it also tells a story, centred on an old married, and childless couple, Aguiar and Dona Carmo, and two young people, now in their twenties, the widow Fidélia and Tristão, in whom they have taken an intense interest. Fidélia’s marriage was happy, but brief: she also braved the anger of her father, the plantation owner Baron of Santa Pia, to marry the son of a traditional enemy of his. Her husband died in Lisbon, and she has gone into permanent mourning, swearing never to marry again; in the two years since his death, she has visited his grave daily. Tristão is the son of friends of Aguiar and Dona Carmo, and was virtually adopted by them as a child; later, rather than go into his father’s business, he decides to get a lawyer’s degree and finally to go to Europe with his parents. (This is an excerpt of a review by John Gledson, at Babel Guide to Brazilian Fiction, Boulevard Books, 2001)

The Wager_2_Machado de Assis

Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Peter Owen Publishers (Mar. 1990)
Translated as: The Wager: Aires’ Journal
Translator: R.L. Scott-Buccleuch
ISBN-10: 0720607728
ISBN-13: 978-0720607727
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Ayres Memorial_Machado de Assis

Hardcover: 205 pages
Publisher: University of California Press (1 July 1992)
Translated as: Counselor Ayres’ Memorial
Translator: Helen Caldwell
ISBN-10: 0520022270
ISBN-13: 978-0520022270
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Ayres Memorial_2_Machado de Assis

Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: University of California Press (1 July 1992)
Translated as: Counselor Ayres’ Memorial
Translator: Helen Caldwell
ISBN-10: 0520047753
ISBN-13: 978-0520047754
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The Wager_Machado de Assis

Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Peter Owen; New Ed edition (1 July 2005)
Translated as: The Wager: Aires’ Journal
Translator: R.L. Scott-Buccleuch
ISBN-10: 0720612306
ISBN-13: 978-0720612301
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Quiet Creature on the Corner

Original title: O quieto animal da esquina (1991)
Author: João Gilberto Noll
Translator: Adam Morris

Ranked alongside leading Latin American writers like César Aira and Mario Bellatín—and deeply influenced by Clarice Lispector—João Gilberto Noll is esteemed as one of Brazil’s living legends.

Quiet Creature on the Corner marks Noll’s English-language debut. An unemployed poet finds himself thrown in jail after inexplicably raping his neighbor, but his time in the slammer is mysteriously cut short when he’s abruptly taken to a new home—a countryside manor where his every need seen to. All that’s required of him is to . . . write poetry. Just who are his captors, Kurt and Otávio? What of the alluring maid, Amália, and her charge, a woman with cancer named Gerda? And, most alarmingly of all, why does Kurt suddenly appear to be aging so much faster than he should?

Reminiscent of the films of David Lynch, and written in Noll’s distinctive postmodern style—a strange world of surfaces seemingly without rational cause and effect—Quiet Creature on the Corner is a bizarre existential mystery with deep implications. Written during Brazil’s transition from military dictatorship to democracy—and capturing the disjointed feel of that rapidly changing world—Quiet Creature is mysterious and abrupt, pivoting on choices that feel both arbitrary and inevitable. Like Kazuo Ishiguro, Noll takes us deep into the mind of person who’s always missing a few crucial pieces of information. Is he moving toward an answer, or is he just as lost as ever? (Source: publisher)

Quiet Creature on the Corner_Joao Gilberto Noll

Paperback: 120 pages
Publisher: Two Lines Press; Tra edition (May 10, 2016)
Translator: Adam Morris
ISBN-10: 1931883513
ISBN-13: 978-1931883511
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Captains of the Sand

Original title: Capitães da areia (1937)
Author: Jorge Amado
Translator: Gregory Rabassa

Captains of the Sand is a fine book from Amado’s early more politically and socially focused period of work and was first published in Brazil in 1937. Seventy-odd years later it becomes a book with a new relevance — as a lively portrait of a gang of ‘street children’, now seen as a rising social problem in Latin America’s cities. It is clear from Amado’s sympathetic and well-thought out narrative that this is not a new problem: children were already detaching themselves from, or being abandoned by, fractured families existing in such precariousness that even minimal care for children was impossible. Although there is a documentary intent in Captains of the Sand its romantic title already suggests that Amado wanted to create a lyrical, ‘legendary’ form for his story of a group of abandoned, mainly Black, children in Salvador da Bahia in North-Eastern Brazil. Amado’s legend is linked in with the legendary bandit Lampião, a backlands Robin Hood, reminding us that fashionable ‘Afro’ Bahia has, like Brazil in general, a large hinterland of maltreated peasants and labourers, whose heroes have often been ‘social bandits’ like Lampião.” (This is an excerpt of a review by Ray Keenly, at Babel Guide to Brazilian Fiction, Boulevard Books, 2001)

Captains of the Sands_Jorge Amado

Series: Penguin Classics
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (June 25, 2013)
Translator: Gregory Rabassa
ISBN-10: 014310635X
ISBN-13: 978-0143106357
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Brief Space Between Color and Shade

Original title: Breve Espaço entre a Cor e a Sombra (1998), revised as Breve Espaço in 2013
Author: Cristóvão Tezza
Translator: Alan R. Clarke

Winner of the 1998 Machado de Assis Award for Best Novel from the National Library of Brazil

In a period of just three days, everything changes for young painter Eduardo “Tato” Simmone, who has never sold a painting. During the funeral for Tato’s renowned mentor, Aníbal Marsotti, Tato meets two people who will determine his fate: a beautiful young woman—a mysterious “vampire”—and a major art dealer. When his studio is ransacked and he is attacked, Tato gets caught up in the intrigue surrounding a stone sculpture by famed Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani. A letter from an Italian art historian he met a year before provides clues about the shadowy origins of the statue, but Tato must untangle for himself the dark threads of other people’s fears. As he works through the mystery, Tato discovers a similarity between viewing a painting and the human heart: closer examination shows there is more to each than originally meets the eye. (Source: Publisher)

Breve Espaço_Cristovao tezza

Paperback: 274 pages
Publisher: AmazonCrossing (August 19, 2014)
ranslator: Alan R. Clarke
ISBN-10: 1477819517
ISBN-13: 978-1477819517
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Bom-Crioulo: The Black Man and the Cabin Boy

Original title: Bom-Crioulo (1895)
Author: Adolfo Caminha
Translator: E.A. Lacey

The novel was the first major literary work on homosexuality to be published in Brazil, and one of the first to have a black person as its hero. The novel caused a stir upon its publication but was almost forgotten in the first half of the 20th century. In the second half of the 20th century, the novel has been republished several times in Brazil and translated into English, Spanish, German, French and Italian.

Bom Criolo_Adolfo Caminha

Paperback: 141 pages
Publisher: Gay Sunshine Pr (June 1982)
Translator: E.A. Lacey
ISBN-10: 0917342887
ISBN-13: 978-0917342882
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Barren Lives

Original title: Vidas Secas (1938)
Author: Graciliano Ramos
Translator: Ralph Edward Dimmick

Dating back to 1938 this is one of the all-time great velvels of rural existence in Brazil, telling of the life of a small migrant family (and their dog) in the harsh social and ecological conditions of the drought- plagued state of Alagoas. In an elementally sparse ranching landscape of scrubland and marginal pastures Ramos studies his family in separate chapters, one by one, from the leathery, ignorant father down to the most sympathetic member, the family dog and these chapters somehow seem to be exactly the right length. We share the realities of their lives, including a brush with the law, the experience of winter, huddling around the fireplace and then the overwhelming impact of a town on the two little boys visiting one for the first time, kids who have never seen other people before. (This is an excerpt of a review by David Treece and  Ray Keenly, at Babel Guide to Brazilian Fiction, Boulevard Books, 2001)

Vidas Secas was adapted into a highly praised film by Nelson Pereira dos Santos (1963) and would become a landmark for the Cinema Novo movement.

Barren Lives_2_Gracialiano Ramos

Paperback: 165 pages
Publisher: University of Texas Press (January 1971)
Translator: Ralph Edward Dimmick
ISBN-10: 0292701330
ISBN-13: 978-0292701335
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Barren Lives_Gracialiano Ramos

Hardcover: 168 pages
Publisher: Univ of Texas Press (June 1965)
Translator: Ralph Edward Dimmick
Illustrator: Charles Umlauf
ISBN-10: 0292731728
ISBN-13: 978-0292731721
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Don Juan’s Bar: A Novel

Original title: Bar Dom Juan (1971)
Author: Antonio Callado
Translator: Barbara Shelby

This amazing “revolutionary” ovelovel is full of surprises — not the least being that its author is a middle-aged Brazilian “man of letters” rather than some youthful wild-eyed Maoist. It glides with amazing dash and brio from torture chamber to love affair, more with the elegant grace of a minuet than with the terror of people who almost all lose their lives in failed attempts to reach Che’s small guerrilla band in the Bolivian foothills. There’s no sense of tragedy, only the offhand, almost humorous, way in which middle-class intellectual revolutionaries are likely to die: a bank robber turning his eye from the cashier at a crucial moment because he spots a friend stuffing stolen money from under the floorboards into a grocery bag. But there is a partial condemnation of this kind of half-hearted commitment when Che stoically nears his end; also a rather joyous vision of the future as the survivors more or less accidentally hijack a plane to transcendental Cuba. The action switches from character to character and not a word is wasted in this razzledazzle masterpiece of understatement. The “historical” sections on Che’s capture and death approach grandeur without heaviness, and the clear, functional, completely artless language is admirably translated from the Portuguese by Barbara Shelby. (Source: Kirkus)

Don Juans Bar_Antonio Callado

Hardcover: 271 pages
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf (1972)
Translator: Barbara Shelby
ISBN-10: 0394472128
ISBN-13: 978-0394472126
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Bay of All Saints & Every Conceivable Sin

Original title: Boca do inferno (1989)
Author: Ana Miranda
Translator: Giovanni Pontiero

An evocation of the seventeenth-century city of Salvador da Bahia, or ‘Bahia’, then the capital of Brazil, with its wealth based on sugar cane and the slave trade. Salvador has always been one of Brazil’s most important urban centres and the heartland of the African element in her cultural life. Ana Miranda’s book is a colourful historical novel, following the lives of certain leading players in the courtly and ecclesiastical politics of the age, focusing on actual personalities such as the reforming Jesuit Father Antonio Vieira, an important early figure in Brazilian letters and the poet Gregorio de Matos. (This is an excerpt of a review by Ray Keenly, at Babel Guide to Brazilian Fiction, Boulevard Books, 2001)


Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: The Viking Press, New York, 1991
Translator: Giovanni Pontiero
ISBN 10: 0670834556 
ISBN 13: 9780670834556
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All Saints Bay_Ana Miranda

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins; First British Edition edition (19 Mar. 1992)
Translator: Giovanni Pontiero
ISBN-10: 0002711311
ISBN-13: 978-0002711319
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Saga of Brutes

Original title: A saga dos brutos (trilogy – 2009)
Author: Ana Paula Maia
Translator: Alexandra Joy Forman

This title will be released on October 28, 2016.

Saga of Brutes pulls together three fantastic stories “Between Dog Fights and Pig Slaughter,” “The Dirty Work of Others,” and “Bone Char,” published for the first time as a single volume. Ana Paula Maia’s narrative follows the invisible workingmen who carry society’s burdens like Atlas. They exist in badness and fraternity, in high heat and intense speed. In the end, these heroes of vile circumstance are the soot-covered supermen who mine the center of the Earth, put out deadly fires, break endless asphalt, collect others’ trash, and cremate bodies. But they, too, amount to nothing but carbo animalis―notwithstanding the impure relation of coal to diamonds. Without romanticizing her protagonists, Ana Paula Maia’s fictional stories transmit some of the tender qualities of Brazil’s brutish men and animals, building, like so many sand castles, a sustainable society on their sweat. (Source: publisher)

Saga of Brutes_Ana Paula Maia

Series: Brazilian Literature
Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press (October 28, 2016)
Translator: Alexandra Joy Forman
ISBN-10: 1628971460
ISBN-13: 978-1628971460
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Sergio Y.

Original title: Sérgio Y. vai à América (2014)
Author: Alexandre Vidal Porto
Translator: Alex Ladd

Armando is one of the most renowned therapists in Sao Paulo. One of his patients, 17-year-old Sergio, abruptly stops his therapy after a trip to New York. Sergio’s cursory explanation is that he has found his own path to happiness and must pursue it. For years Armando wonders what may have happened to him. Years later, Armando learns Sergio is living a happy life in New York as a woman, Sandra. But not long after this discovery Armando is shocked to read about Sandra’s unexpected death. In an attempt to find out the truth, Armando starts his own investigation. (Source: publisher)

Read a review by Mario Savioni here.

Sergio Y_Alexandre Vidal Porto

Paperback: 160 pages
 Publisher: Europa Editions (12 May 2016)
 Translator: Alex Ladd
 ISBN-10: 1609453271
 ISBN-13: 978-1609453275
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The Riddle of Qaf

Original title: O Enigma de Qaf (2004)
Author: Alberto Mussa
Translator: Lennie Larkin

The search for the origins of a forgotten sacred poem is at the heart of this novel about a modern Brazilian poet of Lebanese descent who travels to the Middle East to uncover the truth about what he believes may be part of a group of pre-Islamic poems. Following the model of A Thousand and One Nights, the novel is a quest through time and language that recounts many of the poet’s experiences as he travels through the deserts of Arabia in search of a beautiful woman whose beauty remains hidden until the circularity of the riddle of Qaf is solved. (Source: publisher)

The Riddle of Oaf_Alberto Mussa

Paperback: 184 pages
Publisher: Aflame Books (October 1, 2008)
Translator: Lennie Larkin
ISBN-10: 1906300038
ISBN-13: 978-1906300036
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Original title: O Mulato (1881)
Author: Aluísio Azevedo
Translator: Murray Graeme Macnicoll

In 1881, Brazilian Aluisio Azevedo published Mulatto, a scathing expose of his native city, Sao Luis do Maranhao. Polemic as well as love story, it brought him much notoriety and is generally considered the first Brazilian naturalist novel. Set before the abolition of slavery and the establishment of the first republic, Mulatto tells the story of Raimundo, a young Brazilian of liberal ideas. Kept in ignorance of the identity of his mother and the secret of his mixed birth, Raimundo is educated in Europe and, upon returning to Brazil, struggles against the provincial and bigoted society he encounters. Mulatto reveals its author’s opposition to both the clergy, whose corruption and influence he denounced, and the racist agrarian society still dependent upon slavery.

Mulatto_2_Aluisio de Azevedo

Paperback: 298 pages
Publisher: University of Texas Press (September 1993)
Translator: Murray Graeme Macnicoll
ISBN-10: 0292704380
ISBN-13: 978-0292704381
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Mulatto_Aluisio de Azevedo

Hardcover: 298 pages
Publisher: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (1994-03-01)
Translator: Murray Graeme Macnicoll
ISBN 10: 0838633803 
ISBN 13: 9780838633809 
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Ancient Tillage

Original title: Lavoura Arcaica (1975)
Author: Raduan Nassar
Translator: Karen Sotelino

‘I felt the powerful strength of my family overrunning me like a heavy rush of water’

For André, a young man growing up on a farm in Brazil, life consists of ‘the earth, the wheat, the bread, our table and our family’. He loves the land, fears his austere, pious father who preaches from the head of the table as if it is a pulpit, and loathes himself, as he starts to harbour shameful feelings for his sister Ana. Lyrical and sensual, told with biblical intensity, this classic Brazilian coming-of-age novel follows André’s psychological and sexual awakening, as he must choose between body and soul, duty and freedom. (Source: publisher)

Ancient Tillage_Raduan Nassar

Paperback: 144 pages
 Publisher: Penguin Classics (7 Jan. 2016)
 Translator: Karen Sotelino
 ISBN-10: 0141396784
 ISBN-13: 978-0141396781
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A Cup of Rage

Original title: Um Copo de Cólera (1978)
Author: Raduan Nassar
Translator: Stefan Tobler

‘Yes, bastard, you’re the one I love’

A pair of lovers – a young female journalist and an older man who owns an isolated farm in the Brazilian outback – spend the night together. The next day they proceed to destroy each other. Amid vitriolic insults, cruelty and warring egos, their sexual adventure turns into a savage power game. This intense, erotic cult novel by one of Brazil’s most infamous modernist writers explores alienation, the desire to dominate and the wish to be dominated.

Stefan Tobler’s translation has been Longlisted for The Man Booker International Prize 2016, “celebrating the finest in global fiction”. Read an article by Tobler on his relationship to the text and author here: Raduan Nassar became a Brazilian sensation with his first novel – now published in English, the world will come knocking

A Cup of Rage_Raduan Nassar

Paperback: 64 pages
Publisher: Penguin Classics (7 Jan. 2016)
Translator: Stefan Tobler
ISBN-10: 0141396806
ISBN-13: 978-0141396804
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Memories of Lazarus

Original title: Memórias de Lázaro (1952)
Author: Adonias Filho
Translator: Fred Ellison

These are the recollections of Alexandre – of his life, his death-in-life, and his ultimate death as they are played out against the mobile tapestry of the valley where he was born. The valley itself, in the backlands of the state of Bahia, Brazil, alternates at different stages in Alexandre’s consciousness between reality and symbol. It swings from a harsh regional specificity to become the panorama of all human life, its endless, eroding wind the devouring hostility of all environments and its pain the pain of every human being in the face of his own brutality and that of others. Throughout the novel Alexandre’s mind ranges from sharp awareness, through hallucination, to oblivion (‘a man dies while alive,’ says Jeronimo, his mentor), and back again as he experiences the violent, obtuse phenomena of life in the valley – his universe and ours. This latter-day Lazarus leaves the resisting hills and black sky once only, hounded by the valley dwellers who believe he has murdered his wife, her father, and her brother. Yet despite his awareness of the horror of the valley and his intuition of something beyond it, it is precisely his contact with the gentler existence to which he escapes that forces Alexandre to recognize his nature for what it is. Turning his back on a greater and more varied range of feeling and experience, he chooses the narrow ferocity of the valley, to which he returns to die the final death for which the earlier deaths have prepared him. This best-known novel by Adonias Filho, the Brazilian writer whose work has been compared to that of Emily Brontë and William Faulkner, was translated by Fred P. Ellison, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at The University of Texas. (Source: publisher)

Memories of Lazarus_2_Adonias Filho

Hardback: 184 pages
Published by University of Texas Press (March 1970)
Translator: Fred Ellison
illustrator: Enrico Bianco
ISBN 10: 0292784015
ISBN 13: 9780292784017 
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Memories of Lazarus_Adonias Filho

Paperback: 186 pages (print on demand)
Publisher: University of Texas Press; New Ed edition (1 Jan. 1975)
Translator: Fred Ellison
ISBN-10: 0292750218
ISBN-13: 978-0292750210
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The Passion According to G.H.

Original title: A paixão segundo G.H. (1964)
Author: Clarice Lispector
Translators: Various, see different editions below

The Passion According to G.H. is a novel that somehow feels like a series of short stories, for each chapter starts with a sentence that gives it a theme. The overall theme is the same as in the compilations The Foreign Legion and Family Ties; getting to the bottom of the drawer, coming to an understanding of oneself and the essence of life, embodied, essentially and symbolically, in the notions of love, honesty, truth. In The Passion According to G.H. a woman is questioned existentially about her life but the questions find no answers. It speaks of the self-discovery of a human being, in this case the almost anonymous G.H., as she questions, criticises and wonders. It examines the processes G.H. goes through to arrive at a greater understanding of what her life is about, of what life is about. (This is an excerpt of a review by Marina Coriolano-Lykourezos, at Babel Guide to Brazilian Fiction, Boulevard Books, 2001)

The Passion According to GH_2_Clarice Lispector

Paperback: 182 pages
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press (15 Sept. 1988)
Translator: Ronald W Sousa
ISBN-10: 0816617120
ISBN-13: 978-0816617128
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 Paperback: 220 pages
 Publisher: New Directions, 2012
 Translator: Idra Novey
 Edited by Benjamin Moser
 ISBN 10: 0811219682
 ISBN 13: 9780811219686
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Passion According to GH_Clarice Lispector

Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Penguin Classics (6 Feb. 2014)
Translator: Idra Novey
ISBN-10: 0141197358
ISBN-13: 978-0141197357
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The Apple in the Dark

Original title: A maçã no escuro (1961)
Author: Clarice Lispector
Translator: Gregory Rabassa

A man wanders through the deserted backlands in search of a new beginning. He wants to escape from the city, forget the past, start his life from scratch, even to the extent of learning how to see, speak and write anew, because modern society has driven him to the brink of madness and he has committed a crime. The man, Martim, reaches an isolated farm where he is begrudgingly employed by the owner, the frosty, authoritarian Vitória, and where he becomes a source of fascination for her young widowed sister-in-law Ermelinda. A complicated emotional triangle forms between these three as Martim empathises intellectually with Vítoria but desires Ermelinda physically. Each of the characters is restless and dissatisfied with their sense of identity: Martim is plagued by existential anguish, Ermelinda longs for self-validation and security, and Vitória struggles to disguise her fear that she has wasted her life and her femininity by devoting herself to the farm. (This is an excerpt of a review by Claire Williams, at Babel Guide to Brazilian Fiction, Boulevard Books, 2001)

Apple in The Dark_Clarice Lispector

Hardcover: 384 pages
Published by Virago New Fiction, 1985
Translator: Gregory Rabassa
ISBN 10: 0860685500 
ISBN 13: 9780860685500
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The Apple In The Dark_2_Clarice Lispector

Paperback: 361 pages
 Publisher: University of Texas Press (31 Dec. 1986)
 Translator: Gregory Rabassa
 ISBN-10: 0292703929
 ISBN-13: 978-0292703926
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The Apple In The Dark_Clarice Lispector

 Hardcover: 445 pages
 Publisher: Haus Publishing (1 Oct. 2009)
 Translator: Gregory Rabassa
 Introduction by Benjamin Moser
 ISBN-10: 1906598452
 ISBN-13: 978-1906598457
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The Hour of the Star

Original title: A hora da Estrela (1977)
Author: Clarice Lispector
Translators: Various, see different editions below

Living in the slums of Rio and eking out a living as a typist, Macabéa loves movies, Coca-Cola and her philandering rat of a boyfriend; she would like to be like Marilyn Monroe, but she is ugly and unloved. Yet telling her story is the narrator Rodrigo S.M., who tries to direct Macabéa’s fate but comes to realize that, for all her outward misery, she is inwardly free. Slyly subverting ideas of poverty, identity, love and the art of writing itself, Clarice Lispector’s audacious last novel is a haunting portrayal of innocence in a bad world. (Source: publisher)

The Hour of the Star_4_Clarice Lispector

Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Carcanet (May 1986)
Translator: Giovanni Pontiero
ISBN-10: 0856356263
ISBN-13: 978-0856356261
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The Hour of the Star_5_Clarice Lispector

Series: New Directions Paperbook (Book 733)
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: New Directions; Reissue edition (February 17, 1992)
Translator: Giovanni Pontiero
ISBN-10: 0811211908
ISBN-13: 978-0811211901
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The Hour of the Star_Clarice Lispector

Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press Ltd; New edition edition (14 Feb. 1992)
Translator: Giovanni Pontiero
ISBN-10: 0856359890
ISBN-13: 978-0856359897
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The Hour of the Star_3_Clarice Lispector

Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: New Directions; 2nd Revised edition edition (19 Oct. 2012)
Translator: Benjamin Moser
Introduction by Colm Tóibín 
ISBN-10: 0811219496
ISBN-13: 978-0811219495
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The Hour of the Star_2_Clarice Lispector

Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Penguin Classics (6 Feb. 2014)
Translator: Benjamin Moser
ISBN-10: 0141392037
ISBN-13: 978-0141392035
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Symphony in White

Original title: Sinfonia em branco (2001)
Author: Adriana Lisboa
Translator: Sarah Green

The two daughters of Afonso Olimpio and Otacilia raised in rural Brazil in the 1960s and educated in teeming Rio de Janeiro in the 1970s form the counterpoint and central theme linking four generations: the pliant, troubled Clarice and the lovely, strong-willed Maria Ines. As other voices join in – those of the men they have married and the ones they have loved; the artist manque Tomas; villagers and childhood friends; Great-Aunt Berenice in Rio; Eduarda, Maria Ines’ eighteen-year-old daughter – the cool, white calm of the sisters’ universe dissolves in a swirl of dark secrets. The family’s silences echo the unspoken atrocities of the military dictatorship holding sway in their country. But after the death of their mother forces Clarice and Maria Ines to face their shared past, an old score is settled. In a dramatic and powerful work of great beauty and harmony, Lisboa reveals the abysses of the human soul within a framework as delicate as a butterfly’s flight. (Source: publisher)

Symphony in White_Adriana Lisboa

Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Texas Tech University Press (30 Nov. 2009)
Translator: Sarah Green
ISBN-10: 0896726711
ISBN-13: 978-0896726710
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Hut of Fallen Persimmons

Original title: Rakushisha (2007)
Author: Adriana Lisboa
Translator: Sarah Green

In a station of the metro in Rio de Janeiro, where both live, illustrator Haruki and artisan Celina meet by chance–and soon decide, however improbably, to travel together to Japan. Their shared destination: the famous Rakushisha, or Hut of Fallen Persimmons, where seventeenth-century haiku master Matsuo Bash? once stayed. Their trip to Kyoto provides a context for each to meditate on the past, their feelings for each other, and questions of cultural difference. Through a counterpoint of narration and text, the pair’s losses and struggles gradually unfold.
Bash?’s haiku brilliantly mold the novel’s structure. Bash?’s translator in Brazil, readers learn, is Haruki’s great unrequited love, and Celina’s sad eyes conceal a tragedy in her own life. In this exquisitely woven novel, meant to be cradled in both hands as the Japanese might hold a precious object, the characters’ every gesture, reflection, and self-revelation are manifest. (Source: inside flap)

HutofFallenPersimmons_Adriana Lisboa

Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Texas Tech University Press; First Printing edition (30 May 2011)
Translator: Sarah Green
ISBN-10: 0896727211
ISBN-13: 978-0896727212
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Crow Blue

Original title: Azul-Corvo (2010)
Author: Adriana Lisboa
Translator: Alison Entrekin

I was thirteen. Being thirteen is like being in the middle of nowhere. Which was accentuated by the fact that I was in the middle of nowhere. In a house that wasn’t mine. in a city that wasn’t mine, in a country that wasn’t mine, with a one-man family that, in spite of the intersections and intentions (all very good), wasn’t mine.

When her mother dies, thirteen-year-old Vanja is left with no family and no sense of who she is, where she belongs, and what she should do. Determined to find her biological father to fill the void that has so suddenly appeared in her life, Vanja decides to leave Rio de Janeiro to live in Colorado with her stepfather, a former guerrilla notorious for his violent past. From there she goes in search of her biological father, tracing her mother’s footsteps and gradually discovering the truth about herself.

Rendered in lyrical and passionate prose, Crow Blue is a literary road trip through Brazil and America, and through dark decades of family and political history. (Source: publisher)

Crow Blue_Adriana Lisboa

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus (10 Oct. 2013)
Translator: Alison Entrekin
ISBN-10: 1408838303
ISBN-13: 978-1408838303
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Agua Viva / The Stream of Life

Original title: Água Viva (1973)
Author: Clarice Lispector
Translators: Various, see different editions below

This liquid narrative (the title very literally means “living water”) is difficult to define in terms of genre, style or theme; as it says, “categories pin me down no longer.” It is like a series of pulsations, the narrator’s attempts to capture the “now-instant”, “it” or “X” of a fleeting moment or sudden sensation before it slips through one’s net. It does have a narrator, a painter, who describes the artistic creative process by comparing literature to painting and also to music — linking her writing to improvisational jazz. Whilst describing her movements, her insomnia, the cups of coffee she drinks and cigarettes she smokes, she enumerates her seemingly random thoughts, giving the text a sense of immediacy, as if it is being written as we read it.  (This is an excerpt of a review by Claire Williams, at Babel Guide to Brazilian Fiction, Boulevard Books, 2001)

The Stream of Life_Clarice Lispector

Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press (June 1989)
Translators: Elizabeth Lowe and Earl Fitz
ISBN-10: 0816617821
ISBN-13: 978-0816617821
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Agua Viva_ClariceLispector

Paperback: 88 pages
Publisher: New Directions (19 Jun. 2012)
Translator: Stefan Tobler
Edited and with an introduction by Benjamin Moser 
ISBN-10: 9780811219907 
ISBN-13: 978-0811219907 
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Agua Viva_Clarice Lispector

Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Penguin Classics (6 Feb. 2014)
Translator: Stefan Tobler 
Edited and with an introduction by Benjamin Moser 
ISBN-10: 0141197366
ISBN-13: 978-0141197364
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Whatever Happened to Dulce Veiga?: A B-Novel

Original title: Onde andará Dulce Veiga? : um romance B (1990)
Author: Caio Fernando Abreu
Translator: Adria Frizzi

A forty-year-old Brazilian journalist reduced to living in a dilapidated building inhabited by a bizarre human fauna fortune-tellers, transvestites, tango-loving Argentinean hustlers is called upon to track down and write the story of Dulce Veiga, a famous singer who disappeared twenty years earlier on the eve of her first big show. Thus begins a mad race through an underground, nocturnal Sao Paulo among rock bands with eccentric names, feline reincarnations of Vita Sackville-West, ex-revolutionaries turned junkies, gay Pietas, echoes of Afro-Brazilian religions, and intimations of AIDS… Constructed like a mystery, the novel unravels over a week, evoking a decadent and contaminated atmosphere in which the journalist’s own search for meaning finds its expression in the elusive Dulce Veiga, who constantly appears to him as if in a dream, her arm pointing heavenward. Whatever Happened to Dulce Veiga? is a descent into the underworld of contemporary megalopolises where, like the inside of a huge TV, life intermingles with bits of music, film clips, and soap opera characters in a crazy and macabre dance, moving toward a possible catharsis.”

Whatever Happened to Dulce Veiga_Caio Fernando Abreu

Paperback: 208 pages
Translator: Adria Frizzi
Publisher: University of Texas Press (2001)
ISBN-10: 0292705018
ISBN-13: 978-0292705012
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Whatever Happened to Dulce Veiga_CaioFernandoAbreu_2

The Land

Original title: Essa terra (1976)
Author: Antônio Torres
Translator: Margaret A. Neves

First published in Brazil 10 years ago, this is a sad, simple, lyrical novel about a poor family’s dashed hopes when a favored son returns from the big city to commit suicide. The town of Junco–in the state of Bahia in rural Brazil–is a dusty, dirt-poor, primitive place– “the end of the world,” according to the narrator, a young man named Totonhim. The hopes and dreams of everyone in the village lie in some way with Totonhim’s brother Nelo, who left to become a success in fabled, far-off Sao Paulo. “Your star brightened our dark nights,” says Totonhim–but when Nelo finally returns, drunken and penniless, it’s to hang himself. The rest of the novel (told partially from the points of view of Nelo’s mother and father) shows the family trying to come to grips with this catastrophe–to come to grips, really, with what has always been the hopelessness and cruelty of their lives. By the day of Nelo’s funeral, his deluded mother has decided to reiect his death completely–thinking Totonhim is Nelo–and Totonhim himself decides to follow in his brother’s footsteps and leave Junco, even though he knew that the big city is only a shining illusion. At heart, a political novel, and a despairing one, at that, but uplifted by Torres’ melodic prose and intimate knowledge of rural Brazil. This is the first of his three novels to be published in the US. – Kirkus Review

The Land_Antonio Torres


Paperback: 130 pages
Translator: Margaret A. Neves
Publisher: Readers International (1987)
ISBN-10: 0930523253
ISBN-13: 978-0930523251
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Blues for a Lost Childhood

Original title: Balada da infância perdida (1986)
Author: Antônio Torres
Translator: John Parker

Brazilian Torres’ second novel in English (The Land, 1986) strings together an account, personal and political, of the eternal conflict between the Northeast “Backlands” and the urban South, especially Sao Paulo. The novel, composed of a collage of materials (poems, songs, tall tales, fantasies, etc.), is ultimately too muddy, however, to be very memorable. Part of the problem is an alcoholic narrator, an insomniac, and his modified stream-of-consciousness narration that, when it settles down, is overly casual and anecdotal. He is fired from his office job for reading (especially The Great Gatsby) during office hours and stares at his wall, where pictures and memories, odd bits of news and hallucinations appear, all usually mishmashed together into a sort of history: “When I was twenty, they stuffed a dictatorship down my throat. Now I’ve reached maturity I have to carry the weight of my exhaustion.” Most notable are hallucinations of  “the most beautiful procession of little blue coffins,”  as well as images of tanks connected to a 1964 coup; and a long, rambling saga about Calunga, his older cousin, who is forced back to his native town to die after a long career as student, marksman, reporter, war hero, drank, and so forth: “The Communists are to blame.” Though the narrator fails to attend Calunga’s funeral after his decline, he provides a bio of their misadventures together (gonorrhea, lots of drinking, a satire of trendy types at a panel discussion, adventures in the military), along with details of rural life, conversations with his mother, and an account of a brief love affair. Torres is clearly a trustworthy guide to Brazil–but his sad, lyrical ode, while representative, doesn’t pull together and sing. — Kirkus Reviews

Blues for a Lost Childhood_Antonio Torres

Paperback: 201 pages
Publisher: Readers International (1989)
Translator: J. Parker
ISBN-10: 0930523687
ISBN-13: 978-0930523688
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Hardcover: 201 pages
Publisher: Readers International (1 Oct. 1989)
Translator: John Parker
ISBN-10: 0930523679
ISBN-13: 978-0930523671
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Seraphim Grosse Pointe

Original title: Serafim Ponte Grande (1933)
Author: Oswald de Andrade
Translators: Kenneth D. Jackson and Albert Bork

“A great unbook”, as described by Haroldo de Campos in the afterword.

Written on napkins in Silo Paulo cafés, Seraphim Grosse Pointe resulted from at least three different manuscripts composed between 1924 and 1929. Its final form displays a juxtaposition of titled fragments that parody traditional noveles que styles and formulas while insinuating the adventures of a rebellious “transformed bureaucrat” and immigrant. One of the major characters is even expelled from the novel for gross insolence. Manuscripts of both novels evidence Oswald’s attempt to refine a concise, synthetic, and expressive style to convey his acute observations on Brazilian society. (Source: K. David Jackson, Literature of the Sao Paulo Week of Modern Art)

Seraphim Grosse Pointe_Oswald de Andrade

Hardcover: 131 pages
Publisher: New Latin Quarter Editions (1979)
Translators: Kenneth D. Jackson and Albert Bork
ISBN-10: 091872208X
ISBN-13: 978-0918722089
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