João Gilberto Noll, trans. from the Brazilian Portuguese by Edgar Garbelotto. Two Lines, $12.95 trade paper (120p) ISBN 978-1-931883-79-5
This surreal, audacious novel from the late Brazilian writer Noll (Atlantic Hotel) is a portrait of a man dissolving the lines between lucidity and incoherency, and of the frightening porousness of identity. An unnamed Brazilian novelist arrives in London, having been summoned there by someone referred to only as the Englishman, who claims to have a mission for the novelist. However, since arriving in London, the Brazilian has been slowly dissociating from his life in Brazil, forgetting at turns his language, his nationality, and the seven novels he’d written that had secured him this invitation. A number of events conspire to unsettle the narrator, like when he is mysteriously whisked away to the hospital, where he “died during the time I was sedated.” He awakens a new man—or at least one who’s left who he used to be behind. From there, the strangeness of Noll’s novel escalates in psychological and erotic ways, as the narrator becomes increasingly unhinged, and his perceptions of himself, the people around him, and the reality they occupy grow even more tenuous. When something shocking happens to the Englishman, the narrator thinks, in a moment of surprising clarity: “I was a survivor in bloom.” Though the narrator is referring to the specific horrors he’s suffered, in Noll’s capable hands, it becomes a statement on the lives humans lead. This is a cunning, memorable novel. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 02/26/2019
Release date: 02/01/2019
Genre: Fiction
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