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Articles tagged "Portuguese"

Grande Sertão: Veredas (Bedeviled in the Badlands)

The following is an excerpt from the new translation of João Guimarães Rosa’s magnum opus, Grande Sertão: Veredas, first published in English in 1963. That translation soon fell out of print for reasons that are not entirely clear. As translator Alison Entrekin explains in her introduction to the piece on our blog, “[t]o read Grande Sertão: Veredas for the first time in Portuguese is like setting foot in a foreign country where the...

The Time Left

They were hard to push down, the buttons. Stiff, you might say. Marcelinho strained and scrunched his face, and succeeded. It still worked, even after everything. The buttons had always been stiff, even before Ricardo’s death. The little door was cracked, and behind the plastic Marcelinho said he saw some bloodstains, still. “Don’t be daft, son. That thing’s clean as a whistle. And be grateful that piece of junk still works.” Work is too ambiguous a word....

Lua

“When are you going to write a book like Knife?” “Never, for sure.”   I was choosing the songs to put on the soundtrack of Lua Cambará when I came across the recordings of the spirituals commending the souls of the dead to God. Ten cassette tapes stored in a Styrofoam box. In the northeast of Brazil they still chant songs filled with religiosity during funeral celebrations. The women’s voices seemed to sprout up, beautiful and strange, up from...

Beauty, a Terrible Story

To Sergio Keuchguerian “You’ve never heard of a curse never seen a miracle never cried alone in a filthy bathroom nor ever wanted to see the face of God.” —Cazuza, “Only Mothers Are Happy” Only after ringing the doorbell many times did he finally hear the rumble of footsteps coming down the stairs. And he recognized the worn rug, once purple, later just red, then each time a lighter shade of pink—now, what color?—and heard the tuneless bark...

The Pharmacist’s First Report

The following is an excerpt from Lúcio Cardoso’s Chronicle of a Murdered House, forthcoming in December 2016 from Open Letter Books. My name is Aurélio dos Santos, and for many years I have been established in our small town with a business selling medicines and pharmaceutical products. Indeed my shop could be considered the only such establishment in the town, for there is little competition from the stall selling homeopathic remedies on the Praça da...

Coral Reef

Imaginary distances part from this spot, mirages which tell of the true distances between us. A man planted in front of the window is a ghost of himself suspended by improbable lines and colors. We are him and he is all of us as if we were yet the city around him. We are him and his slumped shoulders. We are him and his face gnawed by fish. We are him and the narrow streets that cut across him and stick through him like poles shackles and other senseless forms of nostalgia (like all forms...

ithaca

if you want to journey to ithaca call ahead because it looks like everything in ithaca is full restaurants, bars cheap hotels pricey hotels you can't travel to the ionian sea anymore  without reservations  and the ten-hour trip feels like ten years stopping in egypt? don't even think about it and the duty-free shops are full of perfumes you can buy with a credit card. your whole life you've wanted  to visit greece it was a childhood dream conceived in adulthood...

Ephemeral Invention

After Ferreira Gullar It’s this body through which I discern myself a body made of flesh and desire of limestone and fuel of sap and ecstasy of clay and wind carbon fiber and shit. This body which, prone to dejection, at times boasts such grandeur such nobility a window onto my own illusions that, as I walk the streets, others anoint with the same name my mother gave me the one the notary public recorded in his notepad. A body —head torso and limbs skin guts smiles and...

Car Accident without Victims

Mind if I sit in the front? I’m going to Avenida Angélica, corner of Rua Maranhão, know where it is?  Pardon me, sir, but I need to get something off my chest. If you don’t want to, don’t pay any attention to the crazy things I’m about to say. You can see I’m a normal guy. At home, I always did everything right. I even went to Couples Meet Christ. I always liked sex more than she did. Even when we were first married, it was clear. Lots...

From “What are the Blind Men Dreaming?”

The following is an excerpt from Jaffe's multi-generic book due out later this year from Deep Vellum publishing. Jaffe's book is composed of the individual voices of three generations of women: mother, in the diary she wrote after liberation from Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen; daughter, considering the power of memory and survival; and granddaughter, reflecting on what it means to be the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor. In this excerpt, we open with a...

From “Um País”

You undulate, soaked in iodine and sun around the cold outline of a universe: profound, public, oceanic, the mindset of a country: a tank of pleasure, of collective loss, shimmering in different grades of sepia since sepia is the shade of fine sand, and sand             is the color here, and ocean-blue. The night is at rock-height trying to pronounce your name: hot, salty in my mouth. How to explain the heat a language...

João and Maria: An Excerpt from Susana Moreira Marques’s “Now and at the Hour of our Death”

The following is an excerpt from Susana Moreira Marques's Now and at the Hour of our Death, a nonfiction work that resulted from Moreira Marques's trip with a palliative care team to Trás-os-Montes, a forgotten corner of northern Portugal, a rural area abandoned by the young. While there, she visits villages where rural ways of life are disappearing. Her book presents stories from families facing death in their own words and through Moreira...

Where the Sidewalk Bends: Interview with Adriana Lisboa

A novelist, poet, and short story writer, Adriana Lisboa’s works include the novels Symphony in White (winner of the José Saramago Prize), Crow Blue (named one of the best books of the year by The Independent), and Hanoi (one of O Globo’s best books of the year), the poetry collection Parte da paisagem, and some children’s books. She has had her books published in more than fifteen countries. Lisboa studied music and literature, and has worked as a musician,...

Cousins from Overseas

What if Brazilian imperial prince Dom Pedro Afonso had survived instead of dying as a child in 1850? By the end of the 1860s he would become a hero at the War of the Triple Alliance after capturing the Paraguayan tyrant Solano Lopez. Relying on his heroic male heir, emperor Dom Pedro II abdicates in favor of Pedro Afonso in 1886, who will rule as “Dom Pedro III”, the most beloved monarch of the Empire of Brazil. His coronation will assure the survival of Brazilian imperial...

Señor Capitán

The lawyer beside me shrugs in silence. His body language seems to suggest that some stories can’t be captured in words. He tries nonetheless. To make his narrative more palatable, he loosens his necktie and speaks slowly, as if rationing out his words . . .. He’s a middle-aged man, tired and earnest. We’ve been talking for a while in the hotel bar. Drink in hand, he braces himself to tell of an episode he lived through, back when he was still in the Dominican Republic,...

Mermaid in Earnest

the cruelest part was that as beautiful as much as her features flaunted a genetic pedigree of bonafide aristocracy and her hands deftly wielded needlework and roast chickens and her tresses attested to tortoiseshell combs and splendid grooming the fascination would always remain with the mermaid’s tail i won’t repeat the story after andersen & co we all know the rough path first the impossible desire for the prince (doll in formal attire) then awareness of powerful...

Sixteen Degrees on Avenida Paulista

I sixteen degrees on Paulista             I had the verse so well structured this morning and drive in the flow of traffic                         never has there been a more lovely place                         nor a more loyal citizen II you are called a concrete jungle          ...

Hiatus

A mother’s love, a hernia love that even when distant, even when dead is an inheritance that crosses the gap with the tentacles and gambits of a spider, tantalizing, and that clings, grasps on the inside: it will die with me, furious. Loyal tattoo, immune to the time of origin. From the collection Lar. Published 2009 by Editora Companhia das Letras, São Paulo. © Armando Freitas Filho. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2013 by Stefan Tobler. All...

In the Mirror

Under my skin, my father invades me. Quietly, slowly: in my striated nails, along the fat visible vein, in my stomach that has succumbed, in my scrotum that has loosened, he flakes off my skin that dries out and wrinkles under my armpits. In my face, my eyes face the invader’s transfusion and it’s still to be confirmed whether in the last days’ light he will stay or shoot off before I resign myself to him. From the collection Lar. © Armando Freitas...

Father’s Chair

The table is set, immaculate, serene. Nobody's seated yet and it will be a little while until anybody does sit down and tuck in. But the time has come for us to sit together and eat together and move on. The house carries on. The convenience and grocery stores carry on. So too the bills, the expenses. Two days have gone by without anyone in the house crying. When I go through the living room at night my mother's bedroom light is off. Silence. She sleeps, everyone sleeps. In this...

The Hunchback and Botticelli’s Venus

Fluttering locks of reddish hair whipped by the wind and rain, smooth and radiant skin, she is Botticelli’s Venus walking down the street. (The one in the Uffizi, born from a seashell, not the one in the Staatliche Museen, with a black background, which is similar but has dry hair arranged around the head, descending evenly down the body.) Don’t think that I boast any extraordinary perspicacity, but the fact is that even if the woman I observe is as motionless as a statue, I...

Seizing Cervantes

When it all began, that is, when the Skeptic Party rose to power in the United Kingdom, in 2070, I was completely in favor. The group’s plan to completely forbid religious practice pleased me greatly. I was brought up in an intellectual environment, the son of a family that never believed in any god and always associated the religious figure with some guy with a double-digit IQ or a fanatical human bomb. I admit, I voted for the Skeptic Party as soon as it came into existence. But...

God’s Obituary

Deceased yesterday morning, aged ninety-one, the English scientist Allan J. Winchmaster, the father of Genetic Architecture, better known as God. Winchmaster was found dead in the easy chair of his country home, in the area surrounding Bristol, England. The cause of death has yet to be determined. Winchmaster suffered from stomach cancer, but there is the suspicion that he may have been poisoned. In recent decades, the scientist lived with constant death threats. His body was cremated in...

Marcel Proust’s Last Three Days

November 16, 1922 Marcel listened to his neighbor’s grandfather clock striking the end of one more November day. Celeste had assured him that it was impossible to hear any clock in his room, but his heightened sense as an insomniac picked up the sounds—even the muffled ones—of his home and those next door. His bed was strewn with papers and notebooks, and his inkwell balanced unsteadily on a board that served as his writing desk. He had been working for more than...

Antonio Lobo Antunes’s “The Land at the End of the World

For many years, António Lobo Antunes and the late Nobel Laureate José Saramago have been widely considered the two leading men of letters in Portuguese literature, each with his own defenders and detractors. As men of Portugal, their various approaches to the country provide a striking comparison. Many of Saramago’s novels, for instance, might be called globally nonspecific, set in locales without name or where the backdrop is ancillary to the story. But for Lobo...

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