Late Summer

Luiz Ruffato, trans. from the Portuguese by Julia Sanches. Other Press, $15.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-63542-020-3
In the lugubrious latest from Ruffato (Unremembering Me), a terminally ill man spends his final days looking back on his youth. Oseias returns from São Paulo to his hometown of Cataguases, which he last visited after the death of his mother 20 years earlier. Divorced and unemployed, he arrives with a backpack’s worth of clothes, a dwindling supply of money, and no real sense of what he wishes to accomplish: “And here I am again, the threads that tie beginning to end in a tangle.” His feuding siblings welcome him with varying degrees of warmth, suspicion, and indifference. Encounters with a childhood friend who has become the mayor, an ex-girlfriend, and a former high school art teacher break up the long, hot days. The ailing Oseias becomes a cipher for these talky characters, whose dialogue can come off as stiff in Sanches’s translation. One particular event constitutes the novel’s faint narrative pull: another sibling’s long-ago death, in which Oseias played an unwitting role. The narrator’s unadorned style can have an incantatory quality, but the spell is not strong enough to make up for the brittle characters and familiar premise. Fans of ruminative works such as Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones may be disappointed. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/28/2021
Release date: 07/06/2021
Genre: Fiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-63542-021-0
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