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Stefan Tobler

Raduan Nassar wins 2016 Camões Prize

Despite having not worked on his literary career for more than two decades, Raduan Nassar has just unanimously won the 2016 Camões Prize, the most important prize for literature in the Portuguese language. Interviewed right after the announcement, Nassar expressed surprise: “my work is a book and a half!”

According to the jury, however, “the extraordinary quality of his language” and the “poetic power of his prose” made him deserve the prize:

“Through fiction, the author reveals, in the universe of his work, the complexity of human relationships in ways that are hardly accessible to other methods of discourse. This revelation is often rough and uncomfortable, and it is not uncommon for him to address taboo issues. This possibility is made possible by the rigorous use of a language whose plasticity is imprinted in different discursive registers found in a body of work that emphasizes the density instead of length”

Nassar, also one of the 13 finalists in this year’s Man Booker International Prize, has two novels recently translated into English, both in 2016: Ancient Tillage (first published 1975 in Brazilian Portuguese as Lavoura Arcaica) translated by Karen Sotelino, and A Cup of Rage (first published 1978 in Brazilian Portuguese as Um copo de cólera), translated by Stefan Tobler. His third book, short story collection Menina a Caminho (1994) has not been translated yet.

The Camões Prize (currently €100,000) is awarded annually by the Portuguese Fundação Biblioteca Nacional (National Library Foundation) and the Brazilian Departamento Nacional do Livro (National Book Department). This award is considered the premier literary prize for an author in the Portuguese language for the entirety of their work. Ferreira Gullar, Dalton Trevisan, João Ubaldo Ribeiro, and Lygia Fagundes Telles are among past Brazilian winners of the Camões Prize.

raduan-nassar

“If this country were grown-up enough to have a literary Good Sex award, this explosively erotic story from the Brazilian modernist would be a strong contender”

The Guardian – Nicholas Lezard’s review of A Cup of Rage by Raduan Nassar, translated by Stefan Tobler

Silence River

Original title: Rio Silêncio (2004)
Author: Antonio Moura
Translator: Stefan Tobler

Antonio Moura’s third collection has the clarity and urgency of a black and white woodcut. A playful collusion of experimental and traditional poetic styles, this collection has both a powerful mythic reach and a bizarre neo-Baroque flavour. Life appears as uncanny, mysterious, something to be faced by the individual. There is a tension between spiritual insight and the sordid realities of life, between the world of today and that of previous eras, between the wider picture and the intensely personal. Moura’s rhythms and his questioning of contemporary assumptions about poetry and our lives make this a powerful and distinctive – and one might say a very ‘Brazilian’ – book.


Silence River_ Antonio Moura

Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Arc Publications (March 17, 2012)
Translator: Stefan Tobler
ISBN-10: 1906570671
ISBN-13: 978-1906570675
Click here to buy this book

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
Click here to buy this book

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
Click here to buy this book

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 
Click here to buy this book

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
Click here to buy this book

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