Gringa Reads

New Books

New Reads for March

New BooksZoe Perry3 Comments

New books for Spring from Companhia das Letras! This list includes a lot of newcomers, and I don't just mean to the publishing world — four out of the five are under 35. 

(counterclockwise from top left):

  • Maracanazo by Arthur Dapieve. A collection of short stories by Dapieve, a music and sports journalist and professor who has also written a couple of novels (one of which was translated to French). The title story was commissioned for the 2015 Paris Salon du Livre, and it was a finalist for the Jules Rimet prize for sports literature.
  • A Resistência (Resistance) by Julián Fuks. I've actually already read this one, but in PDF. It was one of my favorites from last year, so it was great to see how it turned out. This is a very strong, powerful novel.
  • A Realidade Devia Ser Proibida (Reality Should Be Banned) by Maria Clara Drummond, a journalist. This is her second novel.
  • Resta Um (Minus One/One Left) by Isabela Noronha. She received the Curtis Brown Prize for this novel while a student in the MA Creative Writing program at Brunel University London.
  • Gigantes (Giants) by Pedro Henrique Neschling, his first novel.

And, I recently received these two books in the mail, both published by Benvirá, (an imprint of Saraiva), both of which I'm excited about:

Bazar Paraná by Luis S. Krausz. This is the latest novel by the author of Deserto, winner of the Benvirá Prize and one of my favorites from last year. 

Onça Preta (Black Jaguar, or is that a panther?) by Lucrécia Zappi, a journalist, translator and writer. This is her first novel and, interestingly, Zappi wrote it in the MFA program at NYU. It was published in Spanish in 2014 at FIL. Born in Buenos Aires, and having spent her teenage years in Mexico City, she translated the book herself!

Updates, thoughts and things to come

Lists, New Books, News, AwardsZoe PerryComment

Frankfurt Book Fair has come and gone, and the number of Brazilian writers invited could be counted on one hand. I had intended to do a longer write-up about this, but to be honest, my feelings of frustration and disappointment surrounding certain things going on in Brazil at the moment, both politically and economically, have reached such numbing levels that I just don't have it in me. Instead, I'm going to plug the incredible authors who did go to Frankfurt. What the delegation lacked in size, they more than served up in literary prowess.

Noemi Jaffe recently published the incredible novel, Irisz: as orquídeas (Irisz: Orchids). The year isn't over yet, but I already know this is my favorite book of 2015. Review soon to come.

Check out the gorgeous cover of Fernando Bonassi's new book, Luxúria (Lust). I recently did a sample from this book, and will be putting together a review soon.

Ricardo Lísias, one of Granta's best young Brazilian writers, was also there. You can read more about him here. Lísias is the current Writer-in-Residence at the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at the University College London (UCL). If you happen to be in London, he will speaking at the Brazilian Embassy with Francisco Vilhena, editorial assistant at Granta, on Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 6pm. More info here.

Luis Krausz was invited as a translator, but he's a talented author in his own right. His second novel, Deserto (The Desert/Deserted) won the Benvirá prize. It's a lovely book that I'm long overdue in reviewing here.

I'd also like to note the three Brazilian editors invited, representing the best and brightest in indy publishing in Brazil: Raquel Menezes (Oficina de Raquel), Cide Piquet (Editora 34) and William Oliveira (Apicuri). One of the most delightful memories of my residency this past July was the rainy afternoon I spent hanging out in the Editora 34 offices in São Paulo. They are doing amazing, inspiring things and have an incredible list.

Brazil had just a slightly smaller showing at the Boston Book Festival, where Pessoa magazine launched the English version of their special issue (originally released in French at the Paris Book Fair) of translated contemporary Brazilian literature, with work by 25 authors from across the country in prose, poetry, children's lit and theater. Writers include: Alexandre Vidal Porto, Evandro Affonso Ferreira (both translated by me), Elvira Vigna, Andrea Del Fuego, Jacques Fux, Alexandre Staut, Luisa Geisler, Amilcar Bettega, Luci Collin, Ana Martins Marques, Adriana Lisboa, Eucanaã Ferraz, Alice Sant’Anna, Nuno Ramos, Mariana Ianelli, Dora Ribeiro, Moacir Amâncio, Ana Elisa Ribeiro, Alberto Bresciani, Daniel Munduruku, Cintia Moscovich, Lúcia Hiratsuka, Maria Valéria Rezende and Paula Autran. Alexandre Vidal Porto, Luisa Geisler and Nuno Ramos were all in Boston for the launch, where they participated in a roundtable discussion. 

And, the Guadalajara International Book Fair rolls around at the end of this month. After sending sizable delegations in recent years, I'm finding it impossible to locate any information about this year's authors from Brazil. Is no one going? Have they just not announced the names yet (never outside the realm of possibilities)? If anyone has any information, please let me know.

The Brazilian National Library just announced the winners of their 2015 awards, in Poetry, Novel, Short Story, Translation, Graphic Design, Young Adult, Children's, Literary Essay and Social Essay.  Indy publishing was in the spotlight, with only three winners published by one of the big houses.

The winner of the Best Novel prize was the amazing Turismo para cegos (Tourism for the Blind) by Tércia Montenegro, published by Companhia das Letras. This book is definitely in my top three of 2015. Review coming soon.

Finally, I want to mention a few other brand new releases I'm excited about. My favorite, Lourenço Mutarelli, has just published his first novel since 2010's A Arte de Fazer Efeito sem Causa O Grifo de Abdera (The Griffin of Abdera), which blends straight prose with graphic novel. I haven't read it yet, but it looks to be his best and most ambitious work, and impressive experiment, yet.

Other upcoming reviews are new books by two writers from Granta's Best Young Writers: A Resistencia (Resistance) by the immensely talented Julian Fuks and Operação Impensável (Operation Unthinkable) by the hilariously sharp Vanessa Barbara. I recently did samples for both of these and fell hard for them in the process.

New Spring Reads

New BooksZoe PerryComment

It's been awhile since I received a package in the mail from Companhia das Letras, so I was very pleased to collect these three new releases from the postman this morning.

The big red book in the top left corner is Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers),a title that might sound familiar. This is a new graphic novel by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá (published by the Quadrinhos na Cia. imprint) based on Milton Hatoum's well-loved, Jabuti award-winning novel by the same name about two Lebanese brothers in Manaus. It's gorgeous and just might motivate me to work on a future post about Brazilian graphic novels. And it's not often (ever?) I get to say this on this blog, but an English translation of this one is already in the works!

The turquoise cover on the right is Restinga: dez contos e uma novela (Restinga: Ten Stories and One Novella), a collection by Miguel del Castillo. Miguel was one of Granta's Best Young Brazilian Writers, and if you're a Granta subscriber, you can read some of his work in English here.

And the final book this round is Turismo Para Cegos (Tourism for the Blind) by Tércia MontenegroI actually bought and downloaded this book to my Kindle just last week, after seeing a lot of buzz about it on social media, but I was extra happy to receive a physical copy. It's an incredible debut novel (Tércia is an award-winning short story writer, but this is her first longer work) and I've been loving every page. I want to work on a sample, but for practical reasons I sometimes find it easier to work from a hardcopy than a Kindle version. Perhaps the reason I was most delighted to see this book "in real life" is the (yet again) beautiful job Companhia has done with the cover – it's covered in raised dots, almost like Braille (if you didn't get the hint from the title, one of the main characters is blind). There's a review already in the works for this one.

2015-04-17 12.15.05

And as a bonus read this post, O que não existe mais by Krishna Monteiro, kindly received a couple weeks ago from Oasys Cultural. Krishna is diplomat, currently based here in London, and this book of short stories, mixing prose and poetry, is his first. I'm looking forward to reading this on vacation next week.

New Year, New Reads

New BooksZoe PerryComment

Feliz Ano Novo! This collection of six color-coordinated books from Companhia das Letras arrived on January 2. This month's haul includes some very big names and a mix of fact and fiction. Clockwise from top left:

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2015-01-07 10

Sete Anos by Fernanda Torres (author of the novel Fim). This is a collection of Fernanda's columns from the last seven years on politics, movies, life and death. I enjoy Fernanda's writing, and since I missed most of these when they were originally published in São Paulo's Folha newspaper and Piauí magazine, these will be new to me (one potential negative with these sorts of compilations). I was debating if it might sound unkind to mention these collections often wind up in the bathroom, then found an interview where the author herself referred to it as a 'bathroom book', so we're on the same page. :)

O Irmão Alemão by Chico Buarque. You may know him as a musician, but he's also the author of several works of fiction, nearly all of which have been translated to English by the incredible Alison Entrekin. I'm going to be honest: I found the synopsis so convoluted and confusing I gave up half-way through. Perhaps that's motivation enough to just read the book to find out.

Put Some Farofa by Gregório Duvivier. Gregório is a talented poet and one of Brazil's smartest comics. He also writes a weekly column for São Paulo's Folha paper, which ranges from super funny to touching to thought-provoking. Unfortunately, unlike Fernanda Torres' column, I realized thumbing through the pages I've actually read nearly all of these online. Still, many of them are plenty good to merit a second (or third) reading. The title article is hilarious (though not something I'd ever attempt to translate), and one of the highlights of my time at FLIP was hearing him read it live.

O Concerto de João Gilberto no Rio de Janeiro by Sérgio Sant'Anna. This Jabuti award-winning collection of short stories is a republication, originally published in 1982.

Um lugar perigoso by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza. This is the only author in the bunch I wasn't familiar with, but it seems this detective novel set in Rio is the 11th in the same series.

New October Reads

New BooksZoe PerryComment

Four more new releases arrived in my mailbox from Companhia das Letras. Titles this month include: O Homem-Mulher by Sérgio Sant'Anna

photo 3

Por Escrito by Elvira Vigna

Amor Em Dois Tempos by Lívia Garcia-Roza

Bellini e o Labirinto by Tony Bellotto

Stories by both Elvira Vigna and Sérgio Sant'Anna appeared in Comma Press' recent collection of short stories, The Book of Rio, translated by Lucy Greaves and Julia Sanches, respectively.

And I've also received a couple of other books from their authors for review. I'm super excited about a collection of short stories by Rafael Sperling, entitled O Homem Burro Morreu, published by Oito e Meio. He's been described as a mixture of Lydia Davis and Veronica Stigger, which sounds pretty perfect to me. And I love the cover design.

The second one is O Trovador, a historical crime novel by Rodrigo Garcia Lopes, published by Record. Here's its book trailer, filled with high praise:


More books!

New BooksZoe PerryComment

I am officially inundated with new books. Yesterday the postman delivered four more new releases from Companhia das Letras:

A Vez de Morrer – Simone Campos

Bonecas Russas – Eliana Cardoso

O Louco de Palestra e Outras Crônicas Urbanas – Vanessa Barbara

Mil Rosas Roubadas – Silviano Santiago

I read the first few pages of A Vez de Morrer, and there was mention of a Tim Horton's, so naturally I'll be continuing my reading. Bonecas Russas also drew me in.

More Summer Reads!

New BooksZoe Perry1 Comment

I've returned to the UK after a little over a month in Brazil, first visiting friends and family in São Paulo, then participating in the British Council's Winter Translation School in the adorable coastal town of Paraty, followed by FLIP (Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty) literary festival. Of course, with the generous 32-kg weight limit on Brazilian flights, no trip of mine to or from Brazil is without its very own small-scale import/export operation. I arrived back in the UK with no fewer than 20 bottles of cachaça books. Gulp.

My haul included:

O sonâmbulo amador by José Luiz Passos

Paraísos artificiais by Paulo Henriques Britto

Ligue os pontos by Gregorio Duvivier

Por que uns e não outros? by Jailson de Souza e Silva

Não muito by Bolívar Torres

Big Jato by Xico Sá

Aos 7 e aos 40 by João Anzanello Carrascoza

Caderno de um ausente by João Anzanello Carrascoza

Moça com chapéu de palha by Menalton Braff

Meu coração de pedra-pomes by Juliana Franck

Biofobia by Santiago Nazarian

Supertrampo by Charles Peixoto

Feliz ano velho by Marcelo Rubens Paiva

Opisanie swiataby Veronica Stigger

O trágico e outras comédias by Veronica Stigger

Gran cabaret demenzial by Veronica Stigger

Meio intelectual, meio de esquerda by Antonio Prata

Nu, de botas by Antonio Prata

A mulher que transou com o cavalho e outras histórias by João Ximenes Braga

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photo (4)

Companhia das Letras was also kind enough to send me another package of four new releases, which arrived right before I left, and included:

Sergio Y. vai à America by Alexandre Vidal Porto

Dias de feira by Julio Bernardo

Das paredes, meu amor, os escravos nos contemplam by Marcelo Ferroni

Flores artificiais by Luiz Ruffato

So, I've got some reading to do! New reviews hopefully coming soon.

New Reads for June!

New BooksZoe PerryComment

Brazilian publisher Companhia das Letras contacted me a few months ago to see if I'd be interested in receiving some of their new releases. I wasn't going say no to that, was I? Yesterday I finally received my package in the mail from Brazil (after it sat in the Kingsland High Street post office for nearly four weeks, unbeknownst to me). The shipment contained: Dias perfeitos (Perfect Days) by Brazilian crime fiction wunderkind Raphael Montes. Everyone is talking about this guy, and I know the rights have been sold for the US and Italy already (if not more countries); O Brasil é bom (Brazil is Good) by André Sant'Anna, a collection of 22 very short short stories/social commentary; O inventário das coisas ausentes (The Inventory of Missing Things), the latest by Carola Saavedra, one of Granta's top young Brazilian writers; and Semíramis by Ana Miranda. Considering I very nearly downloaded the first three titles last week, I'd say they did pretty well. Can't wait to dive into these.