This is the final novel of one of the most innovative, comic Brazilian writers of this century. It takes the form of an anonymous high school science teacher's journal about an unpublished novel written by his deceased lover, a young woman named Julia Marquezim Enone. Her novel's central character, Maria da Franca, is a destitute and mentally unstable woman at odds with the Brazilian social welfare system, from which she is trying to claim benefits for time spent in a psychiatric hospital. The journal represents the science teacher's attempt to understand Julia's novel and, in the process, Julia herself and the relationship they once shared.
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(216mm x 142mm x 14mm)
Dalkey Archive Press
Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
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US Kirkus Review »
A first English translation of the final novel, originally published in 1976, by the Brazilian postmodernist (1924-78) best known for his complex and challenging (or, if you will, impenetrable) symbolic novel Avalovara (1980). This novel tells multiple stories from which the reader is kept at a series of teasing removes. Its narrator, unnamed, keeps a journal that analyzes and speculates about an unpublished novel written by his late mistress Julia. That novel portrays the life and thoughts of Maria de Franca, "a moneyless mulatto heroine lost in . . . the social welfare bureaucracy," and also adrift in the slums of S??o Paulo, subject to recurring fits of madness. Maria is fascinated by newspaper stories, raised to the status of local legend, about a thief named Ana, a bold free spirit who "represents something she herself will never become." The narrator worries over whether he should write a commentary on Julia's novel, given his closeness to its author; nervously seeks evidence of himself within the book - and, when he doesn't find it, begins to doubt that he exists; contrasts Julia's engage sensibility with intricate narrative and rhetorical strategies used by writers before her; and scours her work for connections with the hermetic tradition and specifically the mystic Albertus Magnus, among other arcana. What seems to result - it's by no means clear - is the narrator's conclusion that art for art's sake and the literature of social purpose are less conflicting opposites than they are inevitably complementary elements in any writer's psyche and any reader's experience of that writer's work. What can be said is that though its structure and argument seem forbiddingly abstruse, and perhaps private, Lins's last work is agreeably crammed with life and color, and thus constitutes a hybrid every bit as intriguing as the interior story within the novel within the journal that appears to be its subject. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Osman Lins
Osman Lins (July 5, 1924, Vit ria de Santo Antao, Pernambuco, Brazil - July 8, 1978, Sao Paulo, Brazil) was a Brazilian novelist and short story writer. He is considered to be one of the leading innovators of Brazilian literature in the mid 20th century. He graduated from the University of Recife in 1946 with a degree in economics and finance, and held a position as bank clerk from 1943 until 1970. From 1970 to 1976 he taught literature. His first novel, 0 Visitante ("The Visitor"), was published in 1955. His later publications would bring him international recognition and establish his reputation--Nove, Novena (1966; "Nine, Ninth"), a collection of short stories, Avalovara (1973), a novel, and A Rainha dos C rceres da Gr cia (1976; "The Queen of the Grecian Jails"), a novel/essay. Lins was the recipient of three major Brazilian literary awards, which included the Coelho Neto Prize of the Brazilian Academy of Letters.