Skip to content

Languages

77 article(s) translated from Portuguese

Visitors from on High

A Tragicomedy in Science Fiction Roberto Athayde’s extraterrestrials invite terrestrial concerns around man’s place in the world and in the universe at large.   Characters DR. ANTARIS   A Brazilian astronomer, an aficionado of UFOs. LOUIS               His assistant, an attractive young man. PERO                A...

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 “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...

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,...

Four Short Tales

Plan Find out what is the best-paid line of work. Do a cram course. Sit the university entrance exam in that field. Be top of the class. Get a job. Plug away, single-mindedly, until I have amassed twenty million dollars. Quit. Buy a plot of land in Araraquara. Build an underground hangar. Acquire the most modern industrial printing presses. Hire excellent artists and graphic designers. Set them up in the bunker. Find out which are the ten countries where Shakespeare’s plays are...

Natanael

II   When Natanael arrived, the first thing he wondered was, “Am I in the right place?” The taxi driver could not understand why my friend wanted to get out at that spot on the riverside road. Now Natanael found himself on the verge between the several lanes of the highway and the concrete incline that sloped down to the half-dead river. To avoid the stench, he followed Faustine’s advice and put his hand in his pocket, drawing out a handkerchief perfumed with...

Becoming Ishmael

Becoming Ishmael in Moby Dick, whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth, whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul, it is time to take to sea. And armed with next to nothing, just the word that is almost less than a breath a gust with which I fill the sail and part in two the air and the water that carry the soul’s wing and the body’s hull to meet the beautiful beast that beckons from the horizon with his gaze green and lively: the...

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...

from “All Dogs are Blue”

Why do all crazy people have the same paranoias? They’re always being followed by a secret agent. The CIA is nearly always involved. My own case (swallowing a chip) was only possible thanks to the CIA and the KGB. The chip had a strange effect inside me and gradually I came to understand how it worked. Rimbaud was the one who helped me with this. He checked my blood pressure with a machine he himself had invented. They were strange ways to check blood pressure. He had a...

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          ...

from “underwater snooker”

It’s like taking your skates off after hours rolling about and finding that your feet and the ground no longer understand each other. You want to glide, float past people and things, but you can’t. So you think, OK, let’s get on with it, walking it is, one foot after the other please, but even so it takes a while to come together, because you’ve still got your skates on, in a sense. The brain says Walk, the feet say Skate. And if someone should...

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...

from “O Cheiro do Ralo”

Soran was an anagram. That’s what he told me. He also told me he’d paid a very high price to get his hands on the watch. He took an old pocket watch out of his jacket pocket, all gold. I noticed it had once had a cover, a protective cover. He swore it had belonged to Professor Soran. I asked who the hell was Soran. He told me Soran was an anagram. He snatched the watch back from my hands and returned it to his inside jacket pocket. So, how much you gonna give me for it? A...

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...

Vigil

Full       moment: live bird attentive to. Tense in             the instant  –immobile flight– full presence bird and             sign   (white, open and alive             attention).   Immobile bird. Live bird attentive to. “Vigília”  © Orides Fontela , from the collected poems Poesia Reunida [1969–1996] (São...

Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world.