Maria Bráulia Munhoz thought settling down with a well-off husband in a house of her own would inaugurate a life of freedom and contentment, but she soon discovered married life to be a series of tiresome formalities. And little happened with her husband, a much older judge, once the lights went out. Now the widowed Maria lives alone in her apartment in São Paulo, her only companions the scheming nephew of her deceased husband, Julião, and a loyal maid.
Family Heirlooms is a searingly brilliant novella from one of Brazil’s modern masters and winner of the Jabuti Prize, finally published in English more than two decades after its original Portuguese publication.
Zulmira Ribeiro Tavares is an award-winning writer of fiction and non-fiction, whose works include Termos de Comparação (Comparison of Terms, 1974), which was awarded the literature prize by the São Paulo Association of Art Critics and O Nome do Bispo (The Name of the Bishop, 1985), winner of the Mercedes-Benz Prize in Literature. Family Heirlooms (1990) was awarded Brazil’s highest literary honour, the Jabuti Prize.
‘Saint Zulmira... I declare myself the most faithful devotee of this goddess of literature’ Julián Ana
‘A magnificent accretion of lies... like a more Brazilian, more sly, less tragic Anna Karenina’ Structo Magazine
‘This is a short novel... but its cleverness is never in doubt, and the reader gets drawn into the web... partly because Zulmira Ribeiro Tavares is embracing the big questions of class and capital, of race, gender and sexuality. And yet, to list them like that is to risk misrepresenting her extraordinary skill as a writer. Almost magically, she manages to evoke these vast subjects with such deftness and lightness of language that they barely settle on the page.’ Wasafiri
‘Commands our utmost attention from the very first sentence’ Typographical Era
Mario Cardoso’s meteoric rise to fame begins in the early sixties, when the promise of sex and revolution permeates the Rio air. But as he conquers the stage, arthouse cinema, and primetime TV, the fever and the decadence of stardom take their toll, and middle-aged Mario finds himself with an ebbing reputation, hairline, and bank account. He needs a royal comeback.
Enter King Lear. Mario’s turn as Shakespeare’s mad monarch goes well until he’s overtaken by a fit of laughter that gets more demented with each performance. Forced to cancel the show, he’s confronted with his mother’s unstaged madness—she’s now convinced that Mario is in fact her long-departed husband. Broke and desperate, Mario signs on for an evangelical network production: Sodoma. Yet, as low as he’s fallen, Mario’s final set is one he never imagined.
With the wicked humor and fleet-footed pace that made her novel The End a runaway bestseller in Brazil, Fernanda Torres’s Glory and its Litany of Horrors is a razor-sharp take on the uneasy marriage of Art and the marketplace, and on the profession of acting in all its horror and glory.
Praise for The End:
“The End, a riotous, sex-stuffed novel by Torres, which takes Technicolor pleasure in detailing the deaths of five incorrigible old beach bums of the Bossa Nova generation…. Her five men, whom she kills off in reverse chronology, are ‘united by male allegiance, women, and the beach, in that order’.... With America undergoing a mass reckoning with male sexuality, a novel like this feels both taboo and gleeful, a guilty kind of reprieve.”
—Hermione Hoby, The New Yorker
“The intense but tenuous bonds of male friendship give shape and structure to this energetic, impressive debut from acclaimed Brazilian actress Torres. Set against the vivid backdrop of Copacabana, the episodic novel follows five contentious and devoted friends—Ciro, Silvio, Neto, Alvaro, and Ribeiro—from the hedonistic nights of their youth to the humbling days of old age. Beginning with the violent death of Alvaro, the group’s last surviving member, the story meticulously works it way back through the complicated lives of each friend, culminating with the operatic death of Ciro, who retains a spark of youth until his last moments. Torres paints a sharp, intimate portrait of male sexuality and psychology (including the experience of aging), illuminating the friends’ profound differences (such as between the decadent Silvio and the meeker Ribeiro) while never undermining the believability of their connection. As assured as the characterizations of the central characters are the investigations of the men and women who surround them, the wives who abide their exploits and the priests who speak at their funerals. The narration and momentum remain lively and sharp throughout.”
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“Set in Rio de Janeiro, this fine literary debut from one of Brazil’s most distinguished actors tells the stories of five men as they approach their inevitable (and in some cases premature) ends. By turns tragic and hilarious, the novel is about friendship, betrayal and excess, and about male fury against the ravages of old age.”
—Angel Gurría-Quintana, Financial Times
“The End is the perfect summer release. Torres creates an aging, male Carioca friend group that is a mess of cynicism, nostalgia, frustration, and a seemingly unending appetite for sex. This book is raunchy, sophisticated, and so wonderfully Brazilian. I devoured this book in one sitting. Parabens Fernanda!!!”
—Daniela Roger, Books & Books (Coral Gables, FL)
"The year of 2013 would have been worth it for Fernanda Torres' novel alone. How beautiful it is to see an authentic literary talent emerge so clearly…. In her debut The End, she goes beyond just being a good writer. Her tone is so well crafted."
“You think you see The End coming—or the ending coming—but Fernanda Torres has other plans for you on this journey. Torres presents five friends—fairly flawed, tragic clowns—and their views on life and those around them as they try to navigate their lives and deaths. This novel is a funny, smart, well conceived, and perfectly executed playful look at mortality.”
—Nick Buzanski, Book Culture (New York, NY)
“Famed actress Fernanda Torres’s debut novel, The End, is a brutally unflinching look at the lifelong friendships of five aging male friends and the women in their lives.… [Torres has an] agile hand at establishing voice, pacing, and tone. Hers is strong, economical prose.… The machismo of each character is impressively rendered.… The End is vivid and irascible as it confronts the reality of aging, regrets, and death.”
—Monica Carter, Foreword Reviews, Five-Heart Review
“Torres’ writing [has] flair and wit… [an] unforgiving portrait of men at their worst.”
Look for Daniel's new book, The Shape of Bones.
A mystical dialogue between a male author (a thinly disguised Clarice Lispector) and his/her creation, a woman named Angela, this posthumous work has never before been translated. Lispector did not even live to see it published.
At her death, a mountain of fragments remained to be “structured” by Olga Borelli. These fragments form a dialogue between a god-like author who infuses the breath of life into his creation: the speaking, breathing, dying creation herself, Angela Pralini. The work’s almost occult appeal arises from the perception that if Angela dies, Clarice will have to die as well. And she did.
'A real gem of a book' Stylist
A wickedly funny tale of two rebellious sisters in 1940s Rio de Janeiro
‘Why Euridice and Antenor married, no one knows for certain.’
Euridice is bright and ambitious. But this is Brazil in the 1940s, and society expects her to be a loving wife and mother. While Antenor is busy congratulating himself on his excellent catch, Euridice spends her humdrum days ironing his shirts and removing the lumps of onion from his food, dreaming of the success she could have made of herself – as a writer, dressmaker or culinary whizz – in another life.
Her free-spirited sister Guida, on the other hand, is the kind of person who was ‘born knowing everything’. When she returns from her failed elopement with stories of heartbreak and loss, the lives of Euridice and her husband are thrown into confusion, with disastrous consequences.
The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao is a darkly comic debut, bursting with vibrant Brazilian spirit and unforgettable characters – a jubilant novel about the emancipation of women.
Ann Morgan writes in the opening of this delightful book, "I glanced up at my bookshelves, the proud record of more than twenty years of reading, and found a host of English and North American greats starting down at me…I had barely touched a work by a foreign language author in years…The awful truth dawned. I was a literary xenophobe."
Prompted to read a book translated into English from each of the world's 195 UN-recognized countries (plus Taiwan and one extra), Ann sought out classics, folktales, current favorites and commercial triumphs, novels, short stories, memoirs, and countless mixtures of all these things. The world between two covers, the world to which Ann introduces us with affection and no small measure of wit, is a world rich in the kind of narratives that engage us passionately: we meet an irreverent junk food–obsessed heroine in Kuwait, an explorer from Togo who spent years among the Inuit in Greenland, and a former child circus performer of Roma background seeking sanctuary in Switzerland. Ann's quest explores issues that affect us all: personal, political, national, and global. What is cultural heritage? How do we define national identity? Is it possible to overcome censorship and propaganda? And, above all, why and how should we read from other cultures, languages, and traditions? Illuminating and inspiring, The World Between Two Covers welcomes us into the global community of stories.