cover image The Good-Bye Angel

The Good-Bye Angel

Ignácio de Loyola Brandão, trans. from the Portuguese by Clifford E. Landers, Dalkey Archive, $14.95 trade paper (312p) ISBN 978-1-56478-594-7

Brandão's latest surreal tale is a nimbly translated if often confusing thriller set in a dystopian Arealva, Brazil, where a moralizing serial killer named the Good-Bye Angel has, for the past decade, killed one victim per year "to cleanse the earth of filthy people." In his latest crime, Manuela, the wife of a powerful but corrupt man named Antenor, is found facedown in the bushes off a busy square. That same night, a vagrant known as the Nighttime Shoeshine Man claims to have seen the murderer and identifies him as an infamous, dangerous man named the Godfather. Meanwhile, bumbling reporter Pedro Quimera sets out to cover the murder, which has set off a chain of events that dredges up the secrets and horrors of each character's past. The narrative bears a reportorial tone—complete with citations and footnotes—as if the novel itself were a piece of journalism, adding another layer of complexity (or perplexity) to this crowded morality tale of a city's depravity and decline—with a startling denouement that must be read to be believed. (Jan.)