All we see is a haze

Dear Carol, As if under the muffled atmosphere of a tense game, the storyline of Sinuca embaixo d’água (2009, ‘Underwater snooker’, not translated yet) circumscribes an absence: the white ball that moves the others and drives the game forward. Antonia, the main character, is at the heart of the story but never directly shows up…

To wrap up this new body of mine

Hi, folks, Next on my series of poetry posts for Spanish and Portuguese Reading Months, hosted by Stuart and Richard, you have three poems by Brazilian poet Ana Guadalupe, translated by Jacob Steinberg and by the author herself. Hope you enjoy! Yours truly, J. girl turned mosquito by Ana Guadalupe, translated by Ana Guadalupe & Jacob Steinberg Source: here one…

A woman with exposed bricks

Hi, folks, Next on my series of poetry posts for Spanish and Portuguese Reading Months, hosted by Stuart and Richard, you have five poems by Brazilian poet Angélica Freitas, translated by Hilary Kaplan. Hope you enjoy! Yours truly, J. Artichoke Angélica Freitas, translated from the Portuguese by Hilary Kaplan Source: Granta 132 – Possession – Summer 2015 amelia, the real woman,…

One gets the criminals one deserves

Dear Amélie, The Enemy’s Cosmetique (Cosmétique de l’ennemi, 2001, not translated into English yet) reads like an ouroboros, a snail swallowing its own tail: in a sequence of increasing macabre tales, the two characters are brought into their innermost self, caught in a sadistic kind of seduction game: the interplay between guilt and punishment. The story…

To embrace the whale

Hi, Folks, Next on my series of poetry posts for Spanish and Portuguese Reading Months, hosted by Stuart and Richard, you have four poems by Brazilian poet Alice Sant’Anna, translated by Tiffany Higgins. Hope you enjoy! Yours truly, J. THAT MOMENT AN ENORMOUS TAIL by Alice Sant’Anna, translated by Tiffany Higgins Source: Ghost Town Lit Mag of the whale would…

What day knits night forgets

Hi, folks! Stuart and Richard are hosting the Spanish and Portuguese Reading Months in July & August, and I will take this opportunity not only to read some damn good books written in the last flower of Lazio, but also to showcase some of my favourite Portuguese-speaking poets. To start, you have three poems by Brazilian poet Ana Martins Marques,…

I’ll describe my insanity through a sudden insight

Dear Christine, Do you know that feeling we have when we know where a book was going, and we know it could have worked – but it simply didn’t? I feel that about your novel Incest (2017) translated by Tess Lewis (L’Incest, 1999). Trying to be experimental while never giving up control over what the experiment…

Hope is a wound

Dear Marianne, The Weight of Things (2015), translated by Adrian Nathan West (Die Schwerkraft der Verhältnisse, 1978) is this odd thing: something in-between a horror story, a domestic satire and an allegory of the insanity of war – a tale where the only character who does not lack in accountability and personal responsability is the…

Don’t ever wait for the swallows,

Dear Larissa, Your short story collection Swallow Summer, translated by Lyn Marven (2016. Originally, Schwalbensommer, 2003) made me think of tracks made of air: we might know they have just been travelled by birds, but we cannot trace back the moment immediately before their departure, or the very first movement of their wings. Your stories felt…

She attacked first

Dear Oriana, You had never wanted your life story to be written. “I have never authorized, nor will I ever authorize, a biography,” you said once. So, it was with some trepidation that I approached “Oriana Fallaci: The Journalist, the Agitator, the Legend”, by Cristina de Stefano, translated from the Italian by Marina Harss (Other…

This moment of daybreak, and this singing back and forth

Dear Sarashina, I must confess that I have read your diary – and I did it twice. In my defense, I guess I could say that it is not exactly a diary, as we nowadays conceive of it; that it is highly imaginative rather than objective; and that it was meant to be a public…

The secrets inside her mind are like flowers in a garden at nighttime

Dear Fumiko, Your novel Masks, translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter (女面, Onnamen, 1958) reminded me of an intricate structure one is made to peel off, layer by layer, only to find out later that the layers only made more visible the core that they were to be hiding – they were, after all, the very things…