Machado de Assis Prize 2010Joca Reiners Terron
Joca Reiners Terron, born in Cuiabá, Mato Grosso in 1968, is a poet, writer and graphic designer. He was an editor at the independent Brazilian publishing house Ciência do Acidente and is now a regular contributor to the prestigious newspaper Folha de São Paulo and TV Cultura. Joca Terron has won the Prêmio Machado de Assis 2010 and was shortlisted for the São Paulo Prize for Literature in 2011, 2018, and 2020.
The Laughter of Rats
In his new novel The Laughter of Rats (“O Riso dos Ratos”), Terron creates a dystopian picture of Brazil’s present or near future. His nameless protagonist, an intellectual who works as a freelance translator and editor, lives in an equally nameless city. He is the father of an adult daughter, a student of acting who was raped by a bar owner. Not trusting the system of justice, the father feels obliged to seek revenge himself. A request that his daughter rejects in horror, as she believes it will set in motion an endless chain of violence. The daughter flees, the father sinks into lethargy, incapable of any action, and does not leave the apartment for months. When he is finally forced to, he enters a devastated city where – perhaps as a result of a deadly virus – all social norms have been suspended. The return to his apartment building is barred and suddenly he joins the ranks of the homeless. He finds refuge in the former Futurama supermarket, where he used to do his shopping with his daughter. But this is only the first stop in a cruel descent that leads him to the underworld, to the plantations of a dubious “bishop” and even as a prisoner to a slave ship. Like Dante in his Commedia, he traverses purgatory and hell to eventually find death on an apparently paradisiacal island. What keeps him alive is the thought of revenge, but also the memory of moments of happiness with his daughter.
Terron tells this apocalyptic journey through hell in a powerful, often lyrical language that will remain fixed in readers’ memories.
»The text is frenetic and wild, like the character’s mind, in constant delirium, caused by pain, by hunger, by reality. In this brutal narrative, Joca Reiners Terron creates an allegory of Brazil today.«
Gabriel Pinheiro | Columnist for Literature for Culturadoria
»The new book is even more unsettling than the previous one. There is no escaping the cruelties, much less denying them.«
Henrique Massaro, Correio do Povo.
Death and Meteor
There are only fifty Kaajapukugi Indians left in the world. It is an isolated and mysterious tribe that, with the destruction of the Amazon, finds itself facing extinction because it has lost its land and means of living. It is about to disappear forever. In a daring scheme, it is up to the enigmatic Boaventura, a mixture of indigenous rights activist and adventurer, to lead the last of the kaajapukugi, as political refugees, to a sanctuary in Mexico. The idea provokes controversy, and the world watches attentively the rescue preparations. But Boaventura suddenly dies, and the person given the responsibility for concluding the plan is another activist with little knowledge of the tribe. He goes on to find himself in the midst of a macabre conspiracy and a mystery whose tentacles expand into both the past and the future. It is he who tells the story.
In the novel Death and Meteor (“A Morte e o Meteoro”), Joca Reiners Terron creates an intricate and surprising literary adventure that combines the end of the Amazon with ancestral secrets, anarchist Indians and hallucinogenic insects.
»In at least one respect Death and Meteor leaves no room for doubt: the end of the kaajapukugi will also be the end of us all.«
»The most outstanding contribution of Brazilian literature to cli-fi this year.«
O Estado de S.Paulo
The Tremendous Sadness of the Snow Leopard
The Tremendous Sadness of the Snow Leopard (“A Tristeza Extraordinária do Leopardo-das-Neves”) intertwines the gripping stories of three main characters to form an intriguing whole. A man in his fifties looks after his senile father, not knowing he has a sick sister. A shifty nurse is taking care of a strange child that is only awake at night while a taxi driver lets his attack dogs loose to hunt for human prey. Then an innocent night excursion to the zoo to see the lonely snow leopard turns into a nightmare. As the mysterious child’s secret is unveiled, the man shows his sister the sun after 66 years of darkness.
Combining beautiful language with a touch of irony and magic realism, Joca Reiners Terron’s latest novel is full of eerie suspense.
»Terron demonstrates great literary strength, just like César Aira at his best.«
Folha de S. Paulo
»A beautiful novel that oscillates between the social and the mysterious.«
From the Bottom of the Well You Can See the Moon
From the Bottom of the Well You Can See the Moon (“Do Fundo do Poço se Vê a Lua”) is a fast-paced crime novel about identity and brotherly love, written in a style at once entertaining and violent.
Wilson and William are twins born in São Paulo in the 1980s but their similarities are merely physical. After a tragic accident, Wilson loses his memory and starts a new life in Cairo. But the past keeps nagging at his subconscious, and as the pieces start falling into place, he lures his long-lost brother to Egypt to confront him with what he now knows really happened that night…
»A well-worked piece of literature that masterfully blends the real and the fictional.«
O Estado de S. Paulo
»A solid narrative that is not devoid of surprises.«
The Laughter of Rats (“O Riso dos Ratos”)
São Paulo: Todavia 2021, 208 p.
Death and Meteor (”A Morte e o Meteoro“)
São Paulo: Todavia 2019, 116 p.
English sample translation available
France: Zulma 2020 · Kuwait: Alsurra 2021
Night Within Night (“Noite dentro da Noite”)
São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 2017, 464 p.
Shortlisted for the Rio de Janeiro Prize for Literature,
Jabuti Prize, São Paulo Prize for Literature
Longlisted for the Oceanos Prize
Number 3 in the list of best books of 2017 of Folha de S.Paulo
English sample translation available
The Tremendous Sadness of the Snow Leopard (“A Tristeza Extraordinária do Leopardo-das-Neves”)
São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 2013, 175 p.
English sample translation available
Italy: Caravan 2016 · Kuwait: Alsurra 2018 · Mexico: Almadía 2015
Guide to Dead Ends (“Guia de Ruas sem Saída”)
(Ill. by André Ducci)
São Paulo: Petrobras 2011, 256 p.
From the Bottom of the Well You Can See the Moon (“Do Fundo do Poço se Vê a Lua”)
São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 2010, 279 p.
Prêmio Machado de Assis 2010
Shortlisted for the Prêmio São Paulo de Literatura 2011
English and Spanish sample translation available
Portugal: Leya 2016
Curve of Dirty River (“Curva de Rio Sujo”)
São Paulo: Planeta 2004, 136 p.
Adapted for the movies by Felipe Bragança 2017 with the title:
“Don’t Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl!”
São Paulo: Livros do Mal 2003, 128 p.
There’s Nothing There (“Não Há Nada Lá”)
São Paulo: Ciência do Acidente 2001, Companhia das Letras 2011, 160 p.
Dream Interrupted by Guillotine (“Sonho Interrompido por Guilhotina”)
Rio de Janeiro: Casa da Palavra 2006, 184 p.
Anonymous Animal (“Animal Anônimo”)
São Paulo: Ciência do Acidente 2002, 108 p.
São Paulo: Ciência do Acidente 1998, 93 p.
PARTICIPATION IN ANTHOLOGIES (SELECTION)
Popcorn unterm Zuckerhut. Junge brasilianische Literatur
Germany: Wagenbach 2013
Contos Cruéis: As Narrativas Mais Violentas da Literatura Brasileira Contemporânea
São Paulo: Geração Editorial 2006
A Literatura Latino-Americana do Século XXI
Rio de Janeiro: Aeroplano Editora/Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil 2005
Dentro de um Livro
Rio de Janeiro: Casa da Palavra 2005
The Hundred Smallest Brazilian Tales of the Century
(“Os Cem Menores Contos Brasileiros do Século“)
São Paulo: Ateliê Editorial 2004
Geração 90: Os Transgressors
São Paulo: Boitempo 2003
Edited in the US in 2002 and in Argentina in 2000, among others