Fernando Bonassi, born in São Paulo in 1962, attended the famous Film Academy in São Paulo. His short films, documentaries and scripts have won him several prizes. In 1998 he was a guest of the Artists-in-Residence Programme in Berlin. He presently works for Brazilian newspapers like Folha de S.Paulo, and writes screenplays for TV Globo. Fernando Bonassi is regarded as the chronicler of Brazilian suburbia. With relentless precision he describes the misery of ordinary life, the physical violence and brutality that lies in the silent routine of human relationships.
Anyone who wants to understand, in depth, Brazil following the military dictatorship, has to read Fernando Bonassi’s coherent and prolific work. Since his first books, in the early 1990s, Bonassi has recorded, in novels and short stories and plays, the various setbacks we have gone through, with the privileged and critical eye of someone who knows Brazilian society in their guts. Possessing an unmistakable voice in contemporary literature, Bonassi has chosen the suburb – the title of one of his most important novels – as the location for his books. This suburb, portrayed in the excellent Lust, published in 2015, and to which he returns here in this magnificent Degeneration (“Degeneração”)– a decadent suburb of São Paulo, like all other Brazilian suburbs, inhabited by a lower middle class that struggles with all weapons at its disposal to survive, harassed by brutality and lack of prospects.
Degeneration is almost a natural unfolding of Lust. In the latter, the author portrayed a family who, believing that access to material goods would guarantee social recognition, sees euphoria turn to violence. In Degeneração, this violence resurfaces even more crudely when we follow the saga of the son of a police informant trying to release his father’s body for cremation, during the weekend in which the election that put the extreme right in power is held. Terrifying metaphor – the inside, the outside, the private, the public – everything flows into the cul-de-sac in which we collectively find ourselves. (Luiz Ruffato)
»The downfall (economic, moral, human) of Brazil can be found in these pages. From what I’ve read, few people have used fiction so well to scour the horror that came out of the sewers and took over the country in the last decade….«
UOL, página cinco, Rodrigo Casarin
»Anyone who wants to understand, in depth, Brazil following the military dictatorship, has to read Fernando Bonassi’s coherent and prolific work. Possessing an unmistakable voice in contemporary literature, he has chosen the suburb as the location for his books, inhabited by a lower middle class that struggles with all weapons at its disposal to survive, harassed by brutality and lack of prospects.
Terrifying metaphor – the inside, the outside, the private, the public – everything flows into the cul-de-sac in which we collectively find ourselves.«
»The book builds bridges both with the brutalist literature of Rubem Fonseca, through the rawness and violence of the storyline, and with the plots of Franz Kafka, by exposing the vast bureaucracy that the protagonist faces at the beginning of a weekend in order to release his father’s body.«
Estado de Minas
»Degeneration by Fernando Bonassi maintains the same powerful and exalted writing of his previous novel, 2015’s Lust, but the tone is even louder, in the voice of a narrator who exudes revolt, violence, and swearing in low voices or in thought.«
Beatriz Resende, Folha de S.Paulo
»Bonassi’s book is like a horror movie: you suffer, but you can’t stop reading. Only instead of a horror movie, it’s a novel about Brazilian horror.«
Manuel da Costa Pinto
Fernando Bonassi’s novel Lust (”Luxúria”) gives an account of an unnamed man who, inspired by a glossy magazine and to impress his wife, decides to crown his self-assumed wealth by building a swimming pool – on credit and in the garden of his dwarf-sized house in a social housing area. Little by little, like a chain reaction, the absurd building process exposes not only the drain pipes of the neighbourhood but also the gaping abysms of everyday bourgeois life. In debt, harassed, jobless and driven by his own demons, he tries to kill his dog before he finds a final solution for his family and himself.
Lust is a parable of the nation’s circumstances: the “new Brazilian middle class”, taken completely by surprise by their unexpected wealth, staggers head-on and without any moderation into the entirely foreseeable crisis. In relentlessly sober language, as if set in harshly exposed photographs and bold camera shots, Bonassi meticulously illuminates the lives of his protagonists. A fast-paced, disturbing novel that keeps the reader glued to his seat.
»Fernando Bonassi hits the mark once again with Luxúria: A novel with a weighty theme, handled with narrative mastery, through which the reader lives vicariously the silent tragedy of Brazilian daily life.«
Folho de São Paulo
»Incredibly beautiful narrativ.«
El País Brazil
»The most amazing thing about Luxúria is that it actually places this family under the point of view of what is happening right now in Brazil.«
»Luxúria is without doubt one of the best books of the year.«
Blog O Dia
Suburb // A Sky full of Stars // Marital Crimes
Bonassi – I do not write to entertain, I write to disturb myself and my reader – is unafraid to express, in verbal and written form, how he sees society in his country and the people in his city. His novel Suburb (“Subúrbio”) was one of the very first books to come from and deal with the world of the bleak suburbs which has long since reached the city centres. High walls, electronic barriers are of little use any more. The world of the privileged few can no longer cut itself off. What sort of a world is this, asks Bonassi, which constructs such walls, instead of confronting and combating misery, showing these people a way out. The novel A Sky full of Stars (“Um Céu de Estrelas”) was made into a prize-winning film by Brazilian director Tata Amaral. That he can also be entertaining he demonstrates in the crime story Marital Crimes (“Crimes Conjugais”), an exciting, briskly moving story of big city crime.
»We have here before us not a sky full of stars but a young author who in his anger about the prevailing social conditions writes convincing, compelling prose which is not in the slightest bit interested in beauty. On the contrary: dry, agitated and cheeky, it represents something like an ‘aesthetics of the ugly’, if that paradox be permitted.«
Folha de S.Paulo
The novel Counterevidence (“Prova Contrária”) tells the story of a woman who receives an indemnization from the government since her husband supposedly disappeared after having been tortured by the military regime. One day her husband returns… was he really the political hero his wife had believed him to be?
The Boy Trapped in a Fridge
The Boy Trapped in a Fridge (“O Menino Preso na Geladeira”) has experienced nothing but privation and hollow promises by a corrupt government in a destroyed country. He therefore builds himself a large fully equipped fridge and locks himself in, as to isolate himself from the outside world. After a number of crazy coincidents, however, he suddenly becomes a national anti-hero. This is an absurd story, which seems to take place very far away, in truth, however, portrays a well-known reality.
Rio de Janeiro: Record 2021, 288 p.
Shortlisted for the São Paulo Prize for Literature 2022
Semifinalist of the Oceanos Prize 2022
English and German sample translation available
Rio de Janeiro: Record 2015, 368 p.
English sample translation available
(published online in the new Revista Machado)
The Boy Trapped in a Fridge (“O Menino Preso na Geladeira”)
Rio de Janeiro: Objetiva 2004, 218 p.
Counterevidence (“Prova Contrária”)
Rio de Janeiro: Objetiva 2003, 97 p.
Film rights sold
The Sky and the Bottom of the Sea (“O Céu e o Fundo do Mar”)
São Paulo: Geração Editorial 1999, 126 p.
Love is a Happy Pain (“O Amor É uma Dor Feliz”)
São Paulo: Moderna 1997, 302 p.
Marital Crimes (“Crimes Conjugais”)
São Paulo: Scritta 1994, 271 p.
São Paulo: Scritta 1994, 319 p.
Revised Edition: Rio de Janeiro: Objetiva 2006
April 98 – Theatre version at Schauspielhaus Hamburg
directed by H. Kresnik
France: Moisson Rouge 2008
A Sky Full of Stars (“Um Céu de Estrelas”)
São Paulo: Siciliano 1991; Rio de Janeiro: Objetiva 2005, 201 p.
Film by Tata Amaral 1996 (Several prizes)
1996 SESC Prize, São Paulo, for the best play of a young author.
Love on Fire (“O Amor em Chamas”)
São Paulo: Estação Liberdade 1989, 110 p.
SHORT PROSE AND TEXTS FOR YOUNG READERS
War Journal of São Paulo (“Diário da Guerra de São Paulo”)
São Paulo: Publifolha 2007, 104 p.
The Little Fascist (“O Pequeno Fascista”)
São Paulo: Cosac & Naify 2005, 59 p.
(Ill. by Daniel Bueno)
For a Kiss (“Por um Beijo”)
São Paulo: Ed. FTD 2002
The Best Vibrations – A Sex Book for Men and Women of all Sexes
(“As Melhores Vibrações – Um Livro sobre Sexo para Homens e Mulheres de todos os Sexos”)
São Paulo: Ed. Publifolha 2002
Belo Horizonte: Dimensão 2002, 105 p.
São Paulo: Cosac & Naify 2001, 139 p.
Universal Declaration of the Invoked Street Kid
(“Declaração Universal do Moleque Invocado”)
São Paulo: Cosac & Naify 2001, 24 p.
The Incredible Story of Naidinho (A Bandit or Little Angel?)
(“A Incrível História de Naidinho (Um Bandidão ou Anjinho)”)
São Paulo: Geração Editorial 2001, 23 p.
100 Things (“100 coisas”)
São Paulo: Angra 2000, 109 p.
Spain: Moment Angular 2004 (Catalan)