Glory and Its Litany of Horrors

Fernanda Torres, trans. from the Portuguese by Eric M.B. Becker. Restless, $17.99 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-63206-112-6
Brazilian actress Torres follows the frenetic collapse of an actor’s career and his masculine bluster with piercing humor in her latest (after The End). Fading middle-aged soap opera star Mario Cardoso attempts to revive his gravity by playing King Lear. Shortly into the show’s run in São Paulo, he succumbs to uncontrollable laughter. As the already absurd production implodes, Mario receives a call that his mother, Maria Amélia, is in the hospital. He rushes home to Rio, where his addled mother confuses him for her deceased husband. Mario scrambles to find her care and reminisces about his career with a casual tone that only partially conceals the real pain of his failures, including joining a quixotic troop trying to raise peasant political consciousness and his disastrous romance with a co-star who took her method acting too far. Mario’s need for money (and implication in a bribery scandal) pushes him to accept two deeply embarrassing roles that culminate in an alarming twist. Torres’s zippy momentum still leaves space for an emotional coda, and she has an impressive knack for showing Mario’s vulnerability. This resonant story of an actor’s accelerating decline will charm readers who enjoy madcap farce. Agent: Laurence Laluyaux, Rogers, Coleridge & White. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 06/28/2019
Release date: 07/23/2019
Genre: Fiction
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