Project Description

Telecom Prize (Océanos) 2013José Luiz Passos


José Luiz Passos, born in Catende, Pernambuco, in 1971, is Professor of Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Cultures at the University of California in LA. He was also director of the Center for Brazilian Studies and has published a number of short stories, essays and plays. His novel O SONÂMBULO AMADOR won the Telecom Prize 2013 and the PT Grand Prize 2013. It also received the Brasília Literary Prize 2014 for the best novel published in 2012 and 2013.

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José Luiz Passos© Fernanda Fiamoncini


O marechal de costas

A domestic worker confronts her rural origins against the backdrop of the 2013 political protests in Rio. As demonstrators rail against President Dilma Rousseff’s government, this aging woman—a cook—listens to the endless chatter of a professor who tries to account for her life’s hardships and the current shortcomings of Brazilian democracy. They embark on a journey into politics highlighted by her supposed connection to Brazil’s first dictator Floriano Peixoto, known as the Iron Marshal. The cook obsesses over her supposed relative and President Rousseff’s recent speeches. Walking the same streets Floriano had walked a century earlier she and the professor contemplate an eerie parallel between the beginnings of Brazilian democracy and its current challenges.

Blending fact and fiction, O marechal de costas (“The Iron Marshal”) depicts these challenges in a complex and engaging panorama of Brazilian politics over the past 120 years.


O sonâmbulo amador

A few days before retiring, Jurandir travels to Recife to settle a labour issue and ends up committed to a psychiatric hospital. Reporting on his dreams while remembering his affair with a colleague and the tragic death of his son André, a different perspective on his past life starts to unfold. O sonâmbulo amador (“The Amateur Sleepwalker”) chronicles the adventures of a disenchanted, humble protagonist, revealing the wounds of his past as in a jigsaw. The novel won the Telecom Prize 2013.


O sonâmbulo amador


Nosso grão mais fino

His debut novel Nosso grão mais fino (“Our Finer Grain”) is a lyrical portrait of family decadence and love gone wrong in twentieth-century Brazil. Ana and Vicente recall the ending of their affair and how it started back on their families’ sugarcane plantation. Together, they try to make sense of Ana’s father’s suicide during a Zeppelin trip, which changed their lives: Ana married Vicente’s uncle and made Vicente her secret lover, thus leaving both men in limbo. But while Vicente prefers the uncanny presence of past possibilities, Ana holds on to real life. The innovative unfolding of the narrative and the dense atmosphere make this novel the new literary discovery from Brazil.


Nosso grão mais fino


O marchal de costas
Rio de Janeiro: Alfaguara 2016
English sample translation available

Nosso grão mais fino
Rio de Janeiro: Alfaguara 2009, 157 p.
English sample translation available

O sonâmbulo amador
Rio de Janeiro: Alfaguara, 2012, 270 p.
Excerpt in Magazine Granta (Brazilian edition), 2011
English sample translation available
Telecom Prize 2013 and PT Grand Prize 2013
Brasília Literary Prize for the best novel published in 2012 and 2013
Argentina: Edhasa 2015 · Norway: Solum Forlag 2018

Nova continuidade dos parques
Berkeley: University of California (Lucero: A Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies) 1998

Laszlo, Marisa e meu pai
Berkeley: University of California (Lucero: A Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies) 2006

São Paulo: Revista É 2009

Carmelo’s War, 79 p.
In English competitively selected for a staged reading at the 32nd Comparative Drama Conference, Los Angeles 2008

Ruínas de linhas puras: quatro ensaios em torno a Macunaíma
São Paulo: Annablume Editora 1998, 134 p.

Machado de Assis’ Library: Drama and Deception in the Rise of Brazilian Realism
Berkeley: University of California 1999, 32 p.

Machado de Assis, o romance com pessoas
São Paulo: Nankin/Edusp, University of São Paulo Press 2008, 296 p.

Brésil 25 – 2000-2015
France: Métailié 2015

Cuentos en tránsito. Antología de narrativa brasileña
Argentina: Alfaguara 2014, 225 p.