Brazil is the largest and arguably the most dynamic country in South America. Each of the myriad cultures is so distinct that it would be impossible to characterize Brazil with one voice. Here is a collection of nearly forty stories drawn from all corners of that vast land, inlcuding the Amazon and its two dominant cities, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Avoiding the pitfalls of a scholarly tome, Brazil is eclectic and electric. Found in jungle, sea, and city are nature and magic, humor and tragedy, kindness and brutality, sex and passions of all sorts. The oldest story was written at the end of the nineteenth century. The newest stories, by Moacyr Scliar, Pena Cabreira, and Paula Parisot, were written especially for this collection. Some of the greatest figures of Brazilian modern fiction are represented—such as Machado de Assis, Jorge Amado, Clarice Lispector, Simões Lopes Neto, Dalton Trevisan, and Rubem Fonseca—but this collection also includes relative newcomers. All of the tales included carry a punch.
Brazilians are free spirits who revere pleasure and celebrate individualism through their arts, customs, and everyday lives. Transport yourself to this colorful country by way of its best short fiction.
View the Preface | View the Foreword
We can hear a country speak and better learn its secrets through the voices of its great writers. . . . An engaging series—a compelling idea, thoughtfully executed.
Brazil is timely and engaging, with deft translations, making the Brazilian soul accessible to readers of English . . . recommended for anyone interested in crossing borders, literary or otherwise.
—Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas
- Rio de Janeiro
- Luis Fernando Verissimo, The Real José
- Machado de Assis, The Wallet
- Rubem Fonseca, Account of the Incident
- Adriana Lisboa, Altitude
- Clarice Lispector, The Dead Man in the Sea at Urca and Plaza Mauá
- Helena Parente Cunha , The Traffic Light
- Sonia Coutinho, Josete Killed Herself
- Paula Parisot, Ipanema Is a Long Way from Home
- Fred Góes, A Thing of Beauty
- São Paulo
- Marcos Rey, Architect by Correspondence
- Luiz A. G. Cancello, Challenge
- Álvaro Cardoso Gomes, The Piece
- Fernando Bonassi, Chilly Night
- Luiz Ruffato, Taxi
- Benedicto Monteiro, The Saint and the City and Sunset
- Astrid Cabral, Claws Revealed
- Milton Hatoum, Truth Is a Seven-Headed Beast
- Marcia Denser, The Last Tango in Jacobina
- Jorge Amado, The Miracle of the Birds
- João Ubaldo Ribeiro, Carnival Traumas
- Central West
- Flávio Carneiro, The Pageant
- Adelia Prado, Rituals and Santinha and Me
- Augusta Faro, The Cage
- Adriana Lisboa, Rediscovery and Geography
- Luiz Vilela, Shaving
- J. J. Veiga, The Misplaced Machine
- Guimarães Rosa, Those Lopes
- The South
- Simões Lopes Neto, The Old Ox
- Moacyr Scliar, A Barbecue Story
- Pena Cabreira, Loss
- Rodrigo de Haro, The Flying Man
- Dalton Trevisan, The Elephants’ Graveyard
- Cristovão Tezza, Alice and the Writer
- Jorge Amado (1912–2001) is Brazil’s best-known 20th-century novelist. Translated into fifty languages, highly praised by both Camus and Sartre, winner of the 1951 Stalin Peace Prize, he is one of the few Brazilian literary figures with an international reputation. His vision encompasses every level of society and all races, focusing sympathetically on the lower classes of his beloved Bahia. Following his early days as a social-protest writer (The Violent Land, The Golden Harvest), he became a skillful portrayer of the picturesque (and picaresque) Brazilian Northeast in highly acclaimed works like Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon, Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (later a successful film), and Tent of Miracles. Also available in English are Sea of Death, Tieta, Home is the Sailor, and Showdown. “The Miracle of the Birds,” which he called a fable, was his last published work.
- Fernando Bonassi was born in 1962 in Mooca, the working class neighborhood of São Paulo described in his minimalist flash fiction included in this anthology. He has written collections of short stories, Passaporte (Passport) and O Amor em Chamas (Love in Flames); novels, Suburbio (Suburb) and O Pequeno Fascista (The Little Fascist); eight plays, including three dramatic monologues; and ten film scripts, including Carandiru and Cabra-Cega (Blindman’s Buff). He has also directed six short films. For the last ten years he has been a columnist for the prestigious Folha de São Paulo. In 1998 he won a fellowship in creative writing and spent the year in Berlin writing the collection of short stories O Livro da Vida (The Book of Life). His stories have been published in German, French, and English.
- Astrid Cabral is best known for poetry and is the prize-winning author of ten volumes. Her first book, Alameda, published in 1963, is a collection of boldly imaginative stories dealing with the secret life of plants. Despite having lived for decades in Rio and having spent years abroad, the Amazon of her roots has not abandoned her, as in this narrative set in the Manaus of the forties, where the life of humans seems emotionally intertwined with that of animals. Turning her back on previous flights of fancy, Cabral returns with bruising realism, devoid of moralizing, to the arduous difficulties of social coexistence and the harm that may result from its conflicts.
- Pena Cabreira was born in 1953 in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. In his own words he “draws, paints, and writes when he can and needs to.” His story “The Platform,” which has been compared to Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” appeared in Words Without Borders. This is his second work to be published in English. “Loss” evokes a feeling of the remoteness of a distant corner of land’s end at the farthest tip of the vast Brazilian subcontinent. Just as Brazil is a land of contrasts, so too is Rio Grande do Sul, ranging from modern, cosmopolitan urban centers like capital Porto Alegre to the seemingly endless grasslands of the pampas. Cabreira presents in stark juxtaposition the age-old struggle between enlightenment and superstition, and between art and obscurantism, with the bleak, indifferent landscape as silent witness.
- Born in Santos in 1945, Luiz A. G. Cancello is a writer, musician, university lecturer, and psychologist. He has taught psychology at the Catholic University of Santos for over thirty years, is in private practice, and was once staff psychologist of the legendary Santos Football Club. He is the author of three works of fiction, including the collection of short stories A Carne e o Sonho (Flesh and Dream), where this story first appeared. In addition to articles in newspapers and magazines, he has published two titles in the area of psychotherapy, one of which is studied in a number of Brazilian universities. Cancello’s fluid style plays on the boundaries of human perception, slipping, as if in a dream, between versions of reality.
- Flávio Carneiro was born in Goiânia in 1962, moved to Rio de Janeiro in the early 1980s, and has lived in Teresópolis since 2003. Novelist, scriptwriter, literary critic, and university lecturer, he has written twelve books and two screenplays, and teaches Brazilian and Comparative Literature at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. His fiction includes novellas for children and young people, a collection of short stories, and two novels. He has won many literary awards, most recently the Prêmio Barco a Vapor in 2007 for A distância das coisas (The Distance of Things). The film Bodas de Papel (Paper Wedding), which he co-wrote with Adriana Lisboa and André Sturm, won the Jury’s Prize at the Pernambuco Film Festival in 2008. This story is in the anthology Valores para Viver (Values to Live By) and is a fine example of Carneiro’s engaging, lyrical, and poetic style.
- Edilberto Coutinho (1938–1995) was born in the northern state of Paraíba. He published his first volumes of short stories while still in his teens. His most celebrated collection of short stories, Maracanã, Adeus, won the prestigious “Casa de las Américas” prize, the first ever awarded to a Brazilian. English translations of his stories have appeared in The Literary Review, New Orleans Review, Prismal/Cabral, Caribbean Review, and Index on Censorship (England). His work has also been translated into French and Spanish.
- Sonia Coutinho, award-winning novelist and short story writer, has been hailed as one of the most innovative female authors in contemporary Brazil. She was born in 1939 in a small town in the state of Bahia, grew up in Salvador, and in 1968, moved to Rio de Janeiro, where she currently resides. Her fiction focuses on middle-class female protagonists and their struggle to achieve independence and self-fulfillment. She has published seven collections of short stories, four novels, and a novella for young adults. Also translated into German, Polish, French, and Spanish, her stories have appeared in Ploughshares, Michigan Quarterly Review, Beacons—A Journal of Literary Translation, and Brasil/Brazil. This story is from O último verão de Copacabana (Last Summer in Copacabana).
- Helena Parente Cunha was born in Salvador, Bahia in 1929. She lives in Rio de Janeiro, where she was a Professor of Literary Theory at the Universidade Federal. She published several volumes of poetry and short stories before writing her first and best-known novel, Mulher no espelho (1983), in which she plays with the notions of character, closure, and unified perspective while exploring the issue of female identity. It won the Premio Cruz e Sousa Prize and established her as an international literary figure when it was translated into English as Woman between Mirrors (1989) by Fred P. Ellison and Naomi Lindstrom.
- The paulistana writer Márcia Denser is best known for her work in fiction and journalism. Her major literary publications include O Animal dos motéis (1981), Exercícios para o Pecado (1984), Diana Caçadora (1986), Histórias (1986), Toda Prosa (2002), and the recent novel Caim: Sagrados laços frouxos (2006). She has edited many anthologies, including two volumes of erotic fiction which contain short stories by some of Brazil’s most notable women writers. Denser’s work has been translated into English, German, Dutch, and Russian. This story, which appeared in 1985 in Histórias de amor infeliz (Stories of Unhappy Love), is evocative of the strained nature of love relationships in Denser’s earlier work and exemplifies some of her best writing to date.
- Augusta Faro was born in Goiânia, in the state of Goiás, where she still lives. Her work draws from local legend and the oral tradition of Brazil’s backlands, in which the fantastic and the absurd rampage through her characters’ otherwise uneventful, small-town lives. Faro has published a vast body of literature that includes sixty books of children’s poetry, four books of adult poetry, and the collections of short stories A Friagem (The Chill) and Boca Benta de Paixão (Holy Mouth of Passion). Several of her stories have been made into short films. She also contributes short stories and chronicles on a regular basis to a number of newspapers throughout Brazil’s Central-West.
- Born in 1925, Rubem Fonseca has been a dominant figure in Brazilian literature for over four decades. He has won the Juan Rulfo Prize, considered Latin America’s Nobel Prize, and the Jabuti Prize, Brazil’s highest literary honor. His setting is frequently Rio de Janeiro, his home since the age of eight. Two collections of stark, wholly unsentimental short stories, Feliz ano novo (Happy New Year) and O cobrador (The Taker), firmly established him in both popular and critical circles as a master of the realistic narrative of urban violence and anomie. His first collection of short stories in English, The Taker and Other Stories, appeared in 2008. Although the setting of this story is outside the city, its violence is subdued, and its characters are rural; his identification with the poor and his implicit indignation at social injustice resonate clearly.
- Julieta de Godoy Ladeira (1935–1997) authored several volumes of short stories, a novel, and children’s literature. She received one of Brazil’s most distinguished literary prizes, the Jabuti, for her collection of stories, Passe as ferias em Nassau. She also collaborated on writing projects with her husband Osman Lins, author of acclaimed novel Avolovara. Her works have been translated into German, Spanish, Polish, and English. This story is from her 1978 collection Dia de matar o patrão (Day to Kill the Boss), in which she focuses her attention on the Brazilian upper middle class, especially those in business, whose world she knew firsthand from working in advertising. She depicts lonely people searching for a meaning that remains just beyond their grasp.
- Fred Góes was born in 1948 in Rio de Janeiro, and is a professor in the Faculty of Letters at the Universidade Federal there, his specialty being Carnival Studies. Composer, lyricist, short-story writer, and essayist, he edited an anthology of Carnival stories and essays Brasil, Mostra a sua Máscara (Brazil, Show Your Mask). This story, a finalist in a fiction contest sponsored by Rio’s leading newspaper, appeared in the anthology Contos do Rio (Stories of Rio). In its brevity and wit, it is a virtually flawless vignette that epitomizes the characteristic long-suffering good humor of the carioca (natives of Rio). By making a joke of some of the more harrowing tribulations of urban life, he creates a buffer that helps the reader cope with the anxieties that beset inhabitants of that metropolis of over eight million.
- Álvaro Cardoso Gomes, born in 1944 in Batatais, São Paulo, received his PhD and taught at the Universidade de São Paulo until retirement, specializing in late nineteenth century European poetry and the contemporary novel in Portugal. He has been visiting professor at the University of California Berkeley and visiting writer at Middlebury College. In addition to his prolific production in literary criticism, he has published numerous novels and short stories, including A teia de aranha, O senhor dos porcos, Objeto não identificado, O sonho da terra, Os rios inumeráveis, A divina paródia, Contracanto, and Concerto amazônico. This short story belongs to the author’s realist/detective series, with A boneca platinada and O comando negro. The hero, lifted from these two novels, lives in a dehumanizing megalopolis where he often confronts extreme violence.
- Rodrigo de Haro, born in 1939 in Paris, lives in his rambling house and studio high above a former shrimp-fishing village on the island of Santa Catarina. The son of the painter Martinho de Haro, he is a writer of poetry and short fiction and an artist whose murals and mosaics grace public buildings in the capitals of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and Sao Paulo. His books of poetry include Pedra Elegiaca, Caliban, Livro dos Naufagios, and the more recent Livro da Borbeleta Verde. His poems have appeared in magazines including Green River Review, International Poetry Review, Paintbrush, and Poetry NOW. This story, set in Florianopolis, reveals de Haro’s inclination toward surrealism and fantasy, linking him to Latin America’s artistic movement of magic realism.
- Milton Hatoum, born in 1952 in Manaus, capital of the state of Amazonas, has taught at the University of the Amazon and at the University of California at Berkeley. Author of The Brothers, Tale of a Certain Orient, and Ashes of the Amazon, he has won the prestigious Jabuti Prize for best novel of the year twice. Of Lebanese descent, Hatoum is a principal voice both for the Amazon and for Brazil’s far-flung Arab population. Much of his work is set in the surrealistic jungle capital of Manaus, and the action—imagined or real—takes place inside the splendidly eclectic and strangely misplaced Opera House, a grand reminder of the Amazon’s late-19th century rubber boom.
- Adriana Lisboa was born in 1970 in Rio de Janeiro. She was a flautist and vocalist before dedicating herself to writing and translation. Upon publication of Os fios da memória (Threads of Memory) in 1999, she was acclaimed as among the most distinctive voices of a new generation of Brazilian novelists. The pieces here are from Caligrafias, a collection of what she calls “little narratives.” Somewhere between prose-poetry and micro-fiction, and evoking the Zen sensibility of the classical haiku poet and travel diarist, Bashō, these miniatures explore the intimate emotional resonance of a moment in place, or, in these cases, three distinct places: the canyon-lands of Goiás; the dizzying ascent between coastal Rio and the jagged, jungle covered mountains known as the Organ Pipe Range and Brasília, the high modernist national capital.
- Clarice Lispector (1925–1977) has gained an international reputation as perhaps Brazil’s greatest modern stylist after Guimarães Rosa. When Hélène Cixous, the foremost French feminist literary critic, paid homage to Lispector in her book Reading with Clarice Lispector (1990), it assured her recognition as one of the premiere Latin American writers of this century. Her work is well known in Europe and most of her short stories, crónicas, and novels have appeared in the United States, including Near to the Wild Heart, Family Ties, The Foreign Legion, The Stream of Life, The Hour of the Star, and Soulstorm (from which both stories in this collection are taken). Fundamentally a poet writing in prose, she mixes subjectivity and objectivity, spontaneity and detachment, sentiment and irony, to reveal the precious smallness of our shared humanity.
- Simões Lopes Neto (1865–1916) is one of the most important writers to hail from Brazil’s southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, the land of Brazilian gaúchos, the fiercely independent nomadic inhabitants who once made a living from smuggling and from the cattle roaming the borderlands. (Today, gaúcho simply refers to anyone from Rio Grande do Sul.)This story was originally published in Contos Gauchescos (1912). Simões Lopes focuses on the customs of the region, revealing the paradox of the great hospitality of the people coupled with a culture of lawlessness and violence. His stories document, too, the colloquial Portuguese of the nineteenth-century gaúcho, with its rich infusion of Spanish, Quechua, and Guarani words and constant allusions to cattle and horse culture.
- Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839–1908) lived his whole life in Rio de Janeiro. He was a typesetter, a proofreader, a journalist, and became the first president of the Brazilian Academy of Letters in 1896. He left behind a vast body of work including poetry, short stories, and novels, which were immensely popular in Brazil. Although he did not achieve worldwide acclaim in his lifetime, he is now heralded as one of the greatest writers of the 19th century. His works are famous for their irony, psychological insight, and pessimistic outlook on human nature. He is best known for the eccentric first-person narrative in The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas (1881) and the novels Philosopher or Dog? (1891) and Dom Casmurro (1899), widely considered his masterpiece.
- Benedicto Monteiro (1924–2008), in his tetralogy Verde Vagomundo, O Minossauro, A Terceira Margem, and Aquele Um, created the most vivid depiction we have of Amazônia, the fluvial civilization on the Amazonian river system. Verde Vagomundo is not confined to nature, however, but reveals the author’s reaction to his imprisonment and loss of political rights at the hands of the Brazilian military dictatorship (1964–1985). The novel revolves around the feast of the patron saint of the village of Alenquer, Saint Anthony. This is the first publication in English translation of any of Monteiro’s work.
- Paula Parisot was born in Rio de Janeiro. After earning a degree in Industrial Design, she was awarded a scholarship to continue her studies at the New School in New York, where she received her M.F.A. Her first book of short stories, A dama da solidão, (The Lady of Solitude) has been translated into Spanish, and one of the stories appeared in the online magazine Words Without Borders. She is currently working on a novel and writing a play while continuing in her profession as a fashion designer. “Ipanema is a Long Way from Home” was written especially for this anthology.
- Adélia Prado is one of the foremost poets of Brazil, praised both in literary circles and in the mainstream media. Veja (Brazil’s Newsweek) has called her “a writer of rare brilliance and invincible simplicity.” Prado has also published six volumes of lyric narratives, including Filandras (2001) from which these two pieces are drawn. While place and landscape are more implicit than explicit in Prado’s work, nearly everything she writes is set in her native city of Divinópolis (the place names in “Rituals” are neighborhoods), in the landlocked state of Minas Gerais, which has produced more poets and presidents than any other in Brazil. The characters in these pieces are typically Mineiro—reserved, religious, melancholy, silent, and judicious. A selection of Prado’s poetry in English can be found in The Alphabet in the Park.
- Born in 1961 in Minas Gerais, Luiz Ruffato is known for his fresh approach to storytelling and unique use of language. Many of his characters hail from the Brazilian working class and boast highly distinctive voices. His short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the United States, France, Italy, Uruguay, Argentina, Portugal, and Croatia. He has written a novel, De mim já nem se lembra (No One Remembers Me Any More), and several volumes of short stories. The breathless monologue “Taxi” is an excerpt from Eles eram muitos cavalos (Many Many Horses), which Ruffato himself humorously refers to as a “literary installation.” Heralded as one of the most innovative works of fiction in Brazil, this collection of interwoven stories has been published in Italy, France, and Portugal and has been adapted to the stage.
- Under the pseudonym Marcos Rey, São Paulo-born Edmundo Donato (1925–1999) gained national recognition with Memórias de um Gigolô, published in English in 1987 as Memoirs of a Gigolo. A modern picaresque novel, it became an all-time best seller and later a popular television miniseries. A winner of the coveted Jabuti prize, Rey published novels and short stories regularly, beginning as a teenager. Often chronicling the nocturnal world of hustlers and loose women, he let readers form their own conclusions, never imposing his own view of his fictional creations. This story, which depicts a less complicated time seen through innocent eyes, is required reading in Brazilian middle schools.
- João Ubaldo Ribeiro was born in 1941 on the island of Itaparica, in Bahia. One of his country’s most celebrated contemporary authors, he has been a law professor, scriptwriter, and a journalist. Master of the novel, the short story, and the crônica, a reflection on day-to-day modern life, he won the Camões Prize, the highest honor for a Portuguese-language writer. His novels An Invincible Memory, Sergeant Getúlio, and The Lizard’s Smile have appeared in English translation, and The House of the Fortunate Buddhas is forthcoming. Since 1994, Ribeiro has been a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters, the forty-member group known as “the immortals.” “Carnival Traumas” is a humorous look at Carnaval, an institution deeply rooted in Brazilian tradition.
- João Guimarães Rosa (1908–1967) is considered Brazil’s most difficult and greatest modern writer. His revolutionary treatment of language has led to comparisons with James Joyce and William Faulkner. He was familiar with a dozen foreign languages, studied the grammar of another dozen, and was especially interested in the spoken language of nomadic peoples of the backlands of Minas Gerais and Bahia. His ethnographic and linguistics background enabled him to use syntax and semantics to show us a world far from our own. His book, Grande Sertão: Veredas, considered one of the major works of the twentieth century, has so far defied adequate translation. Two collections of his short stories have been translated into English: Sagarana and The Third Bank of the River and Other Stories. His work has appeared in Grand Street, The Literary Review, and TriQuarterly.
- Moacyr Scliar (pronounced “skleer”) was born in 1937 in Brazil’s southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul. A doctor specializing in public health, he is considered the premier Judeo-Brazilian writer of the 20th century. His novel The Centaur in the Garden was named by the National Yiddish Book Center as one of the 100 best books on a Jewish theme in the last 200 years. His more than seventy books include novels, short stories, essays, and historical studies. Elected to the Brazilian Academy of Letters, he has more work translated into English than any Brazilian writer except Jorge Amado. This story, with its delightful regional flavor, was written specifically for this anthology. It demonstrates qualities characteristic of his short fiction: accessibility, terseness, and humor.
- One of Brazil’s foremost contemporary novelists, Cristovão Tezza was born in 1952 and lives in southern Brazil. He has published thirteen novels, including The Eternal Son, which won every major literary prize in Brazil in 2008 and is being translated into seven different languages. The recipient of the Brazilian National Library Award in 1998 and the Brazilian Academia of Letters Award in 2004, he teaches Portuguese at the Universidade Federal do Paraná and has published textbooks and numerous magazine and newspapers articles. Rich in nuance and the intimate observation of human behavior, he transports readers into his characters’ most private thoughts, where nothing is censored and everything is constantly reexamined. He is presently working on a book of short stories based on the eponymous heroine in “Alice and the Writer.”
- Dalton Trevisan, born in Curitiba in 1925, is perhaps Brazil’s most prolific and controversial short-story writer. The titles of his forty collections reveal his darkly sardonic view of humanity: Knife in the Heart, Conjugal War, Crimes of Passion, Disasters of Love, Those Damned Women, My Darling Killer, Death in the Square, The Great Deflowerer, and his most famous collection, The Vampire of Curitiba. His works suggest that beneath the orderly surface of our bourgeois society lies a world of violent passions, selfishness, depravity, and despair.
- J.J. Veiga (1915–1999) is considered the Brazilian father of magic realism. His tales depict ordinary realities impregnated with strange and threatening possibilities. Many of his stories are set in his native Goiás, where he grew up far from the populated coastal region where he lived the last fifty years of his life. His best-known books are Os Cavalinhos de Platiplanto (The Little Horses of Platiplanto), Hora dos Ruminantes (The Hour of the Ruminants), and Sombras de Reis Barbudos (Shadows of Bearded Kings). He was awarded the Machado de Assis Prize for his complete works by the Brazilian Academy of Letters in 1997. His books have appeared in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Czechoslovakia, England, Spain, and Portugal. Two of his collections, The Three Trials of Manirema and The Misplaced Machine and Other Stories, are available in the United States.
- Luis Fernando Verissimo was born in 1936 in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, where he still lives. He has written four novels and many collections of short stories. His regular columns—or crónicas—have become a regular and much-loved feature in many of Brazil’s major national newspapers. He is also a celebrated cartoonist and plays saxophone in a local jazz band. Verissimo has a wonderfully bittersweet sense of humor and, as this story illustrates, is a wry commentator on contemporary Brazilian mores. Two of his novels The Club of Angels and Borges and the Eternal Orangutans have been translated into English.
- Luiz Vilela, born in Minas Gerais in 1943, won Brazil’s National Fiction Prize with his first book of short stories Earthquake (1967). In 1973 he won the prestigious Jabuti Prize for his book The End of Everything. He has published more than two dozen books, including novels, novellas, and various short story collections. His work has been translated into Spanish, French, Italian, German, Swedish, Polish, Czech, and English. His stories have appeared in Translation, The Literary Review, Confrontation, Nimrod, Epoch, and Southern Humanities Review. Vilela writes about ordinary people with a combination of irony and sympathy reminiscent at times of Anton Chekhov. “Shaving” reveals his deep compassion for his characters, especially children, bewildered in a world of isolation and loss.
- Editor and translator Alexis Levitin has translated 26 books, including Astrid Cabral’s Cage, Clarice Lispector’s Soulstorm, and Eugénio de Andrade’s Forbidden Words. He is a recipient of two NEA translation fellowships and two Fulbright Lectureships. In addition, Levitin has been a resident at the Banff International Literary Translation Centre, the European Translators Collegium in Germany, and the Rockefeller Foundation retreat in Bellagio, Italy. His translations have appeared in over 200 magazines, including Kenyon Review, New England Review, Partisan Review, Prairie Schooner, and American Poetry Review. His most recent book is a cotranslation of Tapestry of the Sun: An Anthology of Contemporary Ecuadorian Poetry.
- Foreword author and translator Gregory Rabassa has translated several major Latin American novelists from both Spanish and Portuguese, including Julio Cortázar, Jorge Amado, and Gabriel García Márquez. On the advice of Cortázar, García Márquez waited three years for Rabassa’s schedule to become open so that he could translate One Hundred Years of Solitude. He later declared Rabassa’s translation to be superior to his own Spanish original. Typically, Rabassa translates without reading the book beforehand, working as he goes. For his version of Cortázar’s novel, Hopscotch, Rabassa received a National Book Award for Translation. Rabassa currently teaches at Queens College, where he is a Distinguished Professor. In 2006, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. His book detailing his experiences as a translator, If This Be Treason: Translation and Its Dyscontents, A Memoir, was published by New Directions in 2006.
- Cristina Ferreira-Pinto Bailey was born in Rio de Janeiro and teaches in the Department of Romance Languages at Washington & Lee University. Her books include Gender, Discourse and Desire in Twentieth-Century Brazilian Women’s Literature (2004) and Poemas da vida meia (2002). She translated Ignácio de Loyola Brandão’s novel Teeth Under the Sun (Dalkey, 2007) and poetry and stories by Marina Colasanti and Sonia Coutinho, some of which have have appeared in Subtropics and in Witness. She is also the editor of the anthology Urban Voices: Contemporary Short Stories from Brazil (1999).
- Pamela G. Bird has translated from Portuguese two books by Brazilian writer José J. Veiga, The Three Trials of Manirema and The Misplaced Machine and Other Stories, from which the present selection was drawn.
- Albert Bork has translated and published a great variety of work from Portuguese and Spanish: Brazilian novels, film scripts, essays, and poems; Mexican and Spanish history; Cuban short stories; and Latin American art criticism. He headed the translation department of a Texas state agency for 17 years and has been the official court interpreter at the Alpine, Texas, U.S. Federal Court since June 2001.
- Margaret Jull Costa has been a literary translator for over 20 years and has translated many novels and short stories by Portuguese, Spanish, and Latin American writers, including Javier Marías, Fernando Pessoa, and José Saramago. In 2008 she won the PEN Book-of-the-Month Translation Award and the Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize for her version of Eça de Queiroz’s masterpiece The Maias.
- Alison Entrekin has translated a number of works by Brazilian and Portuguese authors into English, including City of God, by Paulo Lins, The Day I Killed My Father, by Mario Sabino, and Budapest, by Chico Buarque, which was shortlisted for the 2004 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in the UK. Originally from Australia, she now lives in Brazil.
- David George is a professor of modern languages and literature at Lake Forest College in Illinois. He is an expert on Brazilian theater and Latin American literature, which he teaches and writes about. He has published many articles in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, books in English and Portuguese, and has translated several books, short stories, and plays. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Social Science Research Council, Fulbright Commission, and the American Council of Learned Societies.
- Clifford Landers, professor emeritus at New Jersey City University, has translated more than 20 book-length works from Portuguese, including novels by Rubem Fonseca, Jorge Amado, João Ubaldo Ribeiro, Patrícia Melo, José de Alencar, Chico Buarque, António Lobo Antunes, Nélida Piñon, Paulo Coelho, and Marcos Rey. A recipient of the Mario Ferreira Award and a National Endowment for the Arts grant for prose translation, he is author of Literary Translation: A Practical Guide.
- Naomi Lindstrom is a professor of Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American Studies, and Comparative Literature and a member of the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Her books include Early Spanish American Narrative, The Social Conscience of Latin American Writing, and Jewish Issues in Argentine Literature. She manages the Web site and Listserv of the Latin American Jewish Studies Association (LAJSA).
- Johnny Lorenz, the son of Brazilian immigrants, is an English professor at Montclair State University. He has published poetry and translations in numerous journals and was awarded a Fulbright to translate and study the work of Mario Quintana, whose poetry he discovered through his grandmother. Quintana is not as well known abroad as he is in Brazil, but Lorenz hopes to change that.
- Elizabeth Lowe is director of the Center for Translation Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is also the coauthor of a book on translation and the rise in inter-American literature. Among her many translations is Joaquim Machado de Assis’s Esau and Jacob for Oxford University Press. Her current project is a retranslation of Euclides da Cunha’s Os Sertões.
- Malcolm McNee teaches at Smith College. He is coeditor of Gilberto Freyre e os estudos latinoamericanos, and his essays on Lusophone literatures and cultures appear in journals in Brazil, Portugal, the United States, and Britain. His current research focuses on representations of rural place and subjectivity in contemporary Brazilian literature and visual culture. These are his first published literary translations.
- Barbara Shelby Merello is a retired Foreign Service officer who has lived in Peru, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. She has translated several of Jorge Amado’s works, including Tent of Miracles, Tieta, and Tereza Batista: Home from the Wars.
- Luiza Franco Moreira is an associate professor of Comparative Literature at Binghamton University. Her specialization is Brazilian Modernism and its relation to the Estado Novo dictatorship. An active translator and poet, she edited a collection of Cassiano Ricardo’s poetry. She is the author of Meninos, Poetas e Héróis (Children, Poets, and Heroes), which is a study of Ricardo’s written works, and has contributed scholarly articles to various journals and anthologies.
- Lynne Reay Pereira has been involved in several translation projects from Portuguese to English, including the National Library Foundation Translation Support Programme and the Bei/Unibanco guides to Brazil and individual regions. She is also a regular translator for the Portogente Web site. Originally from England, she now lives in Brazil, where she runs an English school with her Brazilian husband.
- Peggy L. Sharpe is a professor of Portuguese at Florida State University where she also teaches courses on Brazilian literature, cinema, and culture. The recipient of two Fulbright awards to Brazil, she has written, edited, and translated numerous books and scholarly articles, including several on the subject of Brazilian women writers of the 19th and 20th centuries.
- K.C.S. Sotelino has a BA from Stanford University and an MA and PhD in Literature from the University of California in Santa Cruz. Her translations have appeared in numerous Brazilian magazines and books, as well as in Beacons. She has also published articles about translation in Revista de Letras, Tempo e Memória, and Hispania. She is currently a visiting scholar in the Division of Humanities at Stanford University.
- Ellen Doré Watson is at work on a second book of Adélia Prado’s poetry, having already translated The Alphabet in the Park. Director of the Poetry Center at Smith College, Watson has published four collections of poems including This Sharpening, and was dubbed by Library Journal as one of the “24 Poets for the 21st Century.” Recipient of an NEA Translation Fellowship, Watson is the poetry and translation editor of The Massachusetts Review.
- Richard Zenith’s translations range from medieval poetry to contemporary writing and include several titles by Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa, such as The Book of Disquiet. His Education by Stone: Selected Poems of João Cabral de Melo Neto won the Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets. Among his translations are four novels by Antonio Lobo Antunes and the recently released Sonnets and Other Poems by Luis de Camões.
Brazil: A Traveler’s Literary Companion
Trade paperback original
5 x 7¼, 256 pp.,
Publication date: December 2009
Posted on 24 February 2010