COMMENTS

“”Fiction, testament, epic: Free City illuminates the heroic and technical achievements of those who built Brasilia, while reminding us that the triumphs of the few were paid for with the oppression of the rest” Le Figaro

“João Almino’s novel Free City, about the building of the Brazilian capital, is masterfully written. A richly symbolic narrative” Ksenija Bilbija, Words Without Borders.

“Free City is brilliant. Brasilia was always a mystery to me when hearing about it growing up and now it is much less so and yet in a way beset with new mysteries. João Almino has put the city on the literary map, and in his Borgesian/anthropological/passionate way.” Lorrie Moore, author of “A Gate at the Stairs.”

“Enigmas of Spring, João Almino’s new novel, is the first solid work, in Brazilian literature, to bring to the pages of fiction (and for subjective experience) the political movements of the latest years.” Manuel da Costa Pinto, Folha de S. Paulo.

“The books inscribed within the book, the failed hero, religion and faith, East and West, Islam, Christianity and Judaism, Brazil and the world, everything is condensed in this novel in which youth and politics go hand in hand, as if to remind us that, not long ago, the impossible still seemed necessary and urgent. This is a book about the theft of utopia, and it is therefore about our own times. But it is also, in the end, a high and loud bet on the rebirth of hope.” Pedro Meira Monteiro, literary critic and Professor at Princeton University.

“João Almino has deserved the attention of critics for the innovative and engaging style of his work.” Juliana Krapp.

“It is a tour de force, a book about the emptiness of the contemporary world and the possibility of hope for humanity.” VB&M

Enigmas of Spring contains a pioneering reflection on the exercise of politics in the 21st century. To outline, for this purpose, an analyses of the June 2013 protests is a daring but also indispensable step. In the words of the protagonist, the center of those protests maybe relies “on our will to participate, on the leap from social media to the streets, on the mistrust of the political representatives, on the horizontality of the demonstrations. There are no leaders among us. We´re equals, on the same boat.” …
It is difficult to imagine a more daring aesthetic achievement for a celebrated author. (And I will say no more, for it would be impertinent to deprive the reader from the joy of discovery).
João Cezar de Castro Rocha, Professor at UERJ and literary critic.

“If to know 19th century´s St Petersburg it is necessary to read Fiódor Dostoiévski (1821-1881), and if to discover details of Rio de Janeiro at the end of that century it is essential to read the novels by Machado de Assis (1839-1908), certainly in one hundred years, in order to know how was Brasília (and Brazil) at this beginning of 21st century, it will be necessary to read Enigmas of Spring”
Adelto Gonçalves, Caderno 3, Diário do Nordeste

“The undoubted interest raised by this novel grows even more with the contemporariness of the conflicts it describes (almost everything takes place between 2011 and 2013), both in the religious confrontations and in the learning process of the youngsters at drift. And among its formal accomplishments one should highlight the creative playfulness of its omniscient narrator, who reflects upon the characters’ deeds through ingenious metanarrative comments, and conveys, with irony and humor, his observations about the history he tells. One should also highlight the author´s skill in his use of dialogue, conceived as a dialectical tool in the confrontation of ideas and as a means to lay bare the characters´ souls” Angel Basanta, President of the Spanish Association of Literary Critics
“How to account for the present, when we are immersed in it? It is from this impossible project that João Almino extracts the disquieting Enigmas of Spring, his new novel. Almino exposes as wounds, but also as tonics, questions we don´t know how to answer. Questions, or enigmas? The novel is built upon unbearable paradoxes: tolerance and intolerance, the impossible and the necessary, utopia and reality”. José Castello, O Globo.

“We could perhaps speak more broadly about this book that I enjoyed, which one reads with pleasure, but whose phrases keep floating for a long time in the reader´s mind, for this book makes one reflect – and a lot – about the kinds of reality we face — we, men and women of the 21st century. Enigmas of spring is a novel easy to read, but a complex one. Many ideas kept emerging while reading it, ideas about dreams and reality. Enigmas of spring, a beautiful book.” Antonio Maura, Spanish author and literary critic.

“A novelist whose work does not compete with that of the journalist or the historian. What he intends is only to capture the pulse of the moment, to describe the passions of the characters, to understand the emotions behind their actions, trying to reveal the often divergent tendencies and the existing conflicts.” Ieda Magri

“The story, which he wanted, since the beginning, to have as a point of departure a certain disorientation of the contemporary world, kept gaining shape. Enigmas of Spring, now published, deals with all these questions and much more: family, love, freedom, responsibility, search for identity and for comprehending the world, rejection, frustration and delirium.” Maria Fernanda Rodrigues, O Estado de S. Paulo

“Master of a vivid and agile prose.” Nahima Maciel, Correio Braziliense.

“An absolutely post-modern narrative in the form and the spirit of the message. For the historian of the future, it´s a mine of trails to understand the chaos of our time.” Alfredo Bosi, Literary Critic.

“This extraordinary novel offers a lyrical homage not only to the art of photography but also to the art of living.”
(Greg Mullins, on The Book of Emotions)

*”What is it like to inhabit post-Utopia? In his brilliant and thought-provoking new novel, João Almino captures the contradictions of life in present-day Brasilia, the ultimate Planned Modernist City—a city designed for perfection but soon threatened by the realities of life impinging on Brasilia from the provinces surrounding its vast plateau. It is in this setting—beautifully captured in THE FIVE SEASONS OF LOVE– that Almino’s vibrant heroine Ana and her surprising circle of friends learn what identity is—and what it can be.” (Marjorie Perloff, author of The Vienna Paradox and The Futurist Moment and Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature at Stanford University)

“Really absorbing!”
(Marjorie Perloff, on The Book of Emotions)

“In a work at once of great concentration and vast scope, João Almino has produced a vividly detailed and historically resonant multiple portrait. Through the wounded double consciousness of Ana/Diana, we witness a desperate inner quest to comprehend the lineaments of love and desire and to escape from “an average life.” Pulsing meanwhile across the background is the entire ungraspable arc of Brazilian history from the time of the dictatorship to the millennium, as seen through the lens of that singular ghost-utopia, Brasília, “city of the zero,” “city of the void.” (Michael Palmer, poet, author of Company of Moths)

*”This is a novel of intensities, of passionate encounters, both for the narrator and the reader; of places that you will recognize, enjoy, and sometimes even begin to hate, although you may have never seen them. Above all, this is a novel of the certainty that pervades all passion and all places, the certainty that Love, could it ever be achieved at all, or endure forever, would be the redemption and perhaps even the transfiguration of our existence. Seen from these “Five Seasons of Love,” João Almino’s trajectory as a novelist seems to convey, in a compressed version, the history of the novel over the past century: having gone through many levels of formal experimentation, having engaged in multiple strategies to productively provoke his readers, he is now a powerful presence in what we might call the ‘existentialist turn’ of the genre.This novel is about the ‘World’ again, about the defining impossibility of women and men to find a stable place in the World; and it does so with tones and in colors that are neither loud nor bitter. If you manage to read João Almino sympathetically, if you are able to engage with the existence of Ana, his beautiful protagonist and narrator, then this novel will convince you that we must live – and should try to live happily – with the minimal opportunities that each individual life has to offer.” (Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht – Albert Guérard Professor in Literature, Stanford University, member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences)

* “An existentialist in the manner of Clarice Lispector, Almino writes from the confines of his narrator’s consciousness in a blunt, unadorned prose. Almino’s narrative style, in which elements of plot drift like smoke through a character’s fragmented thoughts, has led Brazilian critics to cast Almino as heir to Machado de Assis… And although “every photograph is proof of a meeting,” the blind photographer writes, it is also “an invisible window through which we see the object of our emotion.” The Book of Emotions recreates this process: it builds a window through which we can watch the life and death of dreams.” (Jenny Hendrix, BOOKFORUM)

*”Four seasons, then a fifth – João Almino’s novel is a love song to life. Surrounded by memorable friends, his lucid protagonist, Ana, takes up the wisdom and courage of middle age, the joy to be found on the other side of failure and loss. With deftness and passion, Almino spells out the momentous promise of deep friendship between men and women. For him it is the seed of a new season for us all.” (Mary Louise Pratt, Professor of Comparative Literature, New York University)

The photograph becomes, in The Book of Emotions, a moment of order when things take shape. Cadu’s life is not a narrative arc, the muscle-straining climb up one face and slow descent down the other, but the coalescing of images when “the pieces of the chaos fit together perfectly, giving meaning to the universe”.
(Jesse Miller, Full Stop)

“In this novel of sensations and desires [The Book of Emotions], Almino’s narrative is like a photograph that mesmerizes his readers as Cadu filters his past through “the camera’s objective eye, an eye that sometimes surprises by seeing more than the human eye.”
Camila Santos, Three Percent

*”Love and friendship, Brasilia and its dreams of the future, and the unexpected workings of time and desire are the subjects Joao Almino investigates in The Five Seasons Of Love. This is a fascinating novel, wise and full of news, and no one interested in contemporary Brazil should miss reading it.” (David Beaty, writer).

*”At times reminiscent of the concise psychological realism of Graciliano Ramos while occasionally echoing Clarice Lispector’s characters undergoing precious and painful moments of epiphany, Joao Almino’s Five Seasons of Love courageously portrays the physical albeit imaginary trope of Brasilia as a site of trans – formation, in every sense of the word. THE FIVE SEASONS is a novel where characters embark on transitions that transcend the prison of the past to arrive at new beginnings and personal renewal. Through these pages, the reader is treated to the dynamics of trans-formative movement on all levels humanly possible: the geographic, the societal, the political, the psychological, the emotional, the spiritual, and even the sexual. This is a novel that movingly and compellingly illustrates a theory of the “trans” in formation.” (Dr. Steven F. Butterman, Associate Professor of Portuguese & Director, Portuguese Program Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, University of Miami)

*”Almino succeeds in capturing the essence of these photographs — loneliness and longing — through language, and readers will sympathize with the artist who never receives the love or respect he seeks and deserves”.
(Publishers Weekly)

*”The Five Seasons of Love pits the right-angled Brasilia of Niemeyer and Costa’s plan against a humanity prone to twists, turns, and zigzags against any conceivable plan or grid. The result is a polychrome Brasilia (and a Brazil) far richer, more engaging, and deeply human than the dreams of architects and social engineers.” (Jeffrey Schnapp, Director, Stanford Humanities Lab)

*”A remarkable tale of love, friendship and family ties in the City of Hope. Jackson’s translation is superb.” (Darlene J. Sadlier, Indiana University-Bloomington)

*”The gathering of those who were young idealists of the 70s turns into a process of re-acquaintance, sarcastically weighted and measured along the novel’s five chapters. An ironic view of life was what rather endured from their younger years, when they jokingly called themselves ‘The Useless Ones'”. (Regina Igel, Professor, University of Maryland, College Park).

*”I await each book by João Almino with the certainty of finding an intelligent surprise in its pages. And I never cease to be amazed. He is virtually a unique narrator, who knows how to transmit profound ideas without letting them steal life from the substance of his stories… Contrary to the flood of linear, verbose novels that have become the norm (influenced mainly by journalism), João Almino’s narrative races forward with leaps in the action. He doesn’t fill pages for the sake of filling them. He doesn’t speak too much. He doesn’t dwell on the unnecessary and is never predictable.” (Alberto Ruy-Sanchez, writer).

* “This new and extraordinary novel by João Almino redefines the Brazilian nation as something that was to be invented by humankind.” (Silviano Santiago, writer and literary critic).

* “A necessary style in contemporary Brazilian fiction.” (João Gilberto Noll, writer, Caderno B, Jornal do Brasil).

* “If Brasilia’s rock was the work of a generation, Brasilia’s fiction is the work of a single man: the writer João Almino.” (Carlos Graieb, Veja magazine).

* “Almino’s novels seem to suggest that the mythicized power absolutely corrupts the relations among men and their comprehension of this elusive thing we call “reality”, maybe with unbounded trust… Almino perceives fiction as a special form of thought, a particular way of proposing questions that, rather than supposing answers, generate new and mainly original questions. In other words, Almino’s novel offers the true force of literary experience: literature is thought in action; literature is philosophy that does not stop thinking.” (João Cézar de Castro-Rocha, Literary Critic and Professor of Literature at the University of Manchester).

*”This is a novel of novels, a novel about love and its different seasons, about friendship and its complicities, but also a political novel – both in the sense that “what is personal is political” and in the sense that it speaks, in a subtle and sober way, about the stages of repression and silencing, of fear and disappearances.” (Sandra Lorenzano, Profesor of Literature and Argentinian literary critic).

*”This narrative enchants the reader and leads him by the nose…” (Walnice Nogueira Galvão, Professor of Literary Theory at The University of São Paulo)

* “A fine narrator and a first rate style… Along the well-woven structure and the well-resolved plot, what stands out is the notable stylistic mastery of the author. Varying his registers, forms, and tones, but always clear and secure in his expression, João Almino produces a text that is destined to last. It would be difficult for a reader not to like this book. Intelligent, biting and lyrical…” (Haquira Osakabe, Professor of Literary Theory at the University of Campinas-UNICAMP, Literary Supplement of Folha de S. Paul)

*”Deliciously ironic, the book has led some of Brazil’s foremost critics to compare João Almino to the country’s celebrated turn-of-the-century novelist Machado de Assis. If the very short chapters – ostensibly computer entries with often amusing titles – recall Machado, so does the author′s mordant humor and capacity for understatement. Samba Story is the second novel by a remarkable author.” (Candace Slater, Professor of Spanish, Portuguese and Brazilian literature at U.C. Berkeley).

*”His prose is clear and elegant.” (Veja Magazine)

*”João Almino proves his mastery of the novelistic art in the fine humor and irony which run through his refined poetic prose.” (Jorge Schwartz, Professor of Literature at the University of São Paulo)

*”Considered one of the most brilliant authors of his generation…” (Folha de S. Paulo)

*”An heir of Machado de Assis and Lima Barreto… a Brazilian story told by a writer in perfect control of his craft.” (Márcio Souza, novelist)

*”Extremely well-written (and constructed), with lyrical, ironic and poetic moments…Brazilian culture is revisited with intelligence and sensibility by João Almino, in a synthesis and a successful appropriation of Machado de Assis and Oswald de Andrade…One of the most consistent accomplishments in the area of fiction in Brazil.” (Regis Bonvicino, poet and literary critic)

*”With this novel, Almino equals the two best novelists of his generation…” (Haquira Osakabe, Professor of Literary Theory at the University of Campinas-UNICAMP, interview for O Globo)

*”And it’s also a beautiful story…A good introduction to the work of a great writer.” (Moacyr Scliar, writer, Zero Hora)

*”A book that is funny, malicious, creative, full of formal innovations and intellectually young. In short a contemporary novel.” (Ledo Ivo, poet).

*”What impresses and entertains the most is the counterpoint/tension, present on various levels, between the palpitating and exuberant human passion and the cold computerized façade of the narrator-machine, each extreme stressing the other” (Malcolm Silverman, SDSU, author of Modern Brazilian Fiction).

* “João Almino’s literature is contemporary: without illusions, critical of utopias and easy dreams… Almino’s Brasilia is not only a modern city, but also a metaphor of the modern world.” (José Castello, Caderno 2, Estado de S. Paulo).

*”Among the best authors in our country, Brazil is summarized in his words, that are truly memorable.” (Moacyr Scliar, writer).

*”A rigorous work in the language and structure techniques is evident” (Heloísa Buarque de Hollanda, Caderno Idéias, Jornal do Brasil).

*”João Almino’s satire is funny and anarchic, inventive and enjoyable.” (Deonísio da Silva, writer, Book Review section of the Estado de São Paulo)

*”At times, as we read this work of rare density and amplitude…, it is tempting to compare Almino with Fernando del Paso. In Almino′s favor, obviously, because his work is written, not with dictionaries, but with live emotions…” (Francisco Cervantes, poet, in the Book Review section of Uno mas uno, Mexico)

*”The capacity to create biographies is admirable in João Almino… his strong characters live their lives, move within worlds sketched with verisimilitude, conviction and great style…” (João Luiz Lafetá, professor of Literary Theory at the University of São Paulo, Folha de São Paulo)

*”One of the three most interesting books published in recent years.” (Ignácio de Loyola Brandão, novelist, interview for Jornal do Brasil)

*”One of the best books by a Brazilian author.” (Raymundo Souza Dantas, O Globo)

*”An original voice in contemporary fiction, his narrative is enticing, good humored and elicits thought.” (Ana Maria Machado, novelist)

*”Almino’s novel contains a certain philosophical tension, a sort of disquiet proper to existential heroes, like those of Albert Camus.” (Francisco Alvim. poet)

*”This novel pleases me for what it says and all that it suggests between the lines. There is something in its writing (in its style) that not only makes me think of Machado, but also of a poet that would be writing fiction. This paused and sinuous rhythm… combines action and reflection. And this is rare…” (Milton Hatoum, writer).

*”João Almino is both the great story teller that has already shown his creative capacity and someone who continuously reflects upon Brazil, both in his fiction and his essays.” (Eduardo Portella, Professor, writer and literary critic).

*”I read it with great pleasure, as if I were watching a movie by Almodovar” (Luciana Stegagno Picchio, Professor and Italian literary critic).

*”…as if it had brought me many things that I did not know existed in Brasilia or anywhere else. I made several readings of the novel, which is dense; its characters are almost real, living people, and the writing [is] very modern.” (Ana Miranda, writer).

*”I don’t know which of the three novels is João Almino’s own favorite, if indeed he has one. Sometimes I think he prefers Ideas on Where to Spend the End of the World, for its vigor and originality. Other times I’m sure it’s Samba-Enredo, a narrative to for life, and the image of Brasilia with everything that it means and of which better days are still expected.” (Valquiria Wey, Professor of Literature at UNAM, Mexico).

*”With this book, João Almino reconfirms the position he had already reached with his two previous novels as one of the best novelists of his generation.”(Adelto Gonçalves, Folha da Tarde).

“On ne résiste pas au plaisir de ce récit virtuose, sensible, plein d´humour.”
Alain Nicolas, L’Humanité

“C’est magnifique, et c’est un immense livre que celui de João Almino.”
Christophe Passer, L’Hebdo

“Il y a dans cette double mise en abyme une facetie chère à la literature brésilienne contemporaine qui produit un effet de reel ensorcelant. Fiction, document, epopée, Hôtel Brasilia eclaire la geste héroique et technique des bâtisseurs de la nouvelle capital brésilienne.”
Sébastien Lapaque, Le Figaro

“Aux architectures futuristes, aux avenues tirées au cordeau, aux statues d’airain aux différents Commandeurs, il oppose ainsi les petits riens, les rires, les pleurs, les passions, le futile et l’éphémère, la gravité et le burlesque du quotidien, résumant parfois le tout sous forme d’air ou de chanson à la mode. Une bossa forcément lancinante, langoureuse, mélancolique. »
Dominique Aussenac, Le matricule des anges

« Il a reconstitué dans une ambiance magique la grande aventure de Brasilia »
Edouard Bailby, Livres, Espaces Latinos

“O que torna a narrativa [de Entre facas, algodão] especial e confirma uma dicção única é a criação do espaço por onde evolui a narrativa, os lugares por onde se movem os personagens, a geografia que entranha nas relações.”
Beatriz Resende, Ilustrada, Folha de S. Paulo

“Que Almino continue nos surpreendendo com novos romances, que lance outras obras tão fabulosas como esta mais recente [Entre facas, algodão].”
Igor Zahir, Revista Bravo!

“Talvez mais do que seus aclamados romances anteriores, este livro de João Almino [Entre facas, algodão], sua obra-prima até agora, se inscreve vigorosamente no momento que a história do romance atravessa nestes inícios do século 21.”
Hans Gumbrecht, Universidade de Stanford

“Este fundo emocional, temperado pela linguagem direta, pelo poder literário da oralidade, recriada com uma tranquila nitidez, dá ao romance de João Almino [Entre facas, algodão] a sua marca estilística, de intensa leveza narrativa — a dádiva do texto que, pela empatia, nos prende da primeira à última página.”
Cristovão Tezza

“João Almino deu um adeus a Brasília, um simpático aceno de mão após escrever seis romances nos quais a capital figurava entre os protagonistas… É, no entanto, de Brasília que o personagem parte… A memória, João Almino ensina, não é uma só, fechada e acabada. É um processo em construção, com finais abertos, mesmo quando enfrenta a tentativa de ser apagada. O escritor tratou disso em livros como Cidade livre e As cinco estações do amor. E volta ao tema neste novo romance [Entre facas, algodão].”
Nahima Maciel, Correio Braziliense

“Que trama bem urdida. Que personagens bem delineados. Que domínio de linguagem e estilo. Que texto atraente, que fisga o leitor da primeira à última linha.”
Antônio Torres, sobre “Entre facas, algodão”

“Neste novo romance de João Almino, “Entre facas, algodão”, as três dimensões da vida – espaço, tempo e família -, se interpenetram numa linguagem fascinante. Há mistérios, tragédias e amores. Há um ritmo que seduz desde as primeiras linhas. Há as contradições da condição humana. Arte de alto nível! Recomendo muitíssimo.”
Stella Maris Rezende

“Seus livros são profundos, belos, bem escritos… Em seu novo romance, “Entre facas, algodão” (Record), João Almino acerta mais uma vez em cheio.”
Clara Arreguy

“João Almino não gosta de se repetir. Com sete romances lançados, o escritor natural de Mossoró, no Rio Grande do Norte, vive uma eterna busca – do ponto de vista técnico e da arquitetura das narrativas – para estruturar mudanças nos textos.”
Isabel Costa, O Povo

“João Almino, mestre da literatura brasiliense e brasileira, traz no DNA a escritura dos grandes autores nordestinos. Quem sai aos seus não degenera, diz o ditado. Nesse romance, temos um continuador, no melhor dos sentidos, da prosa realista, enxuta e metonímica de Graciliano Ramos, do mundo de casas repartidas dos meninos de engenho de José Lins do Rego, e até da poesia descarnada de João Cabral de Melo Neto. Almino bebeu, com certeza, nessas fontes de águas límpidas e conseguiu criar a própria narrativa, singular. O engajamento de João Almino é moderno e contemporâneo. Sem a visão sociológica dos romancistas dos anos de 1930, sem a linguagem sensorial de um José Américo de Almeida, sem o idealismo romântico de Jorge Amado, sem militância política, Entre facas, algodão deixa de lado as utopias e se nutre apenas de um fio de esperança.”
Vera Lúcia de Oliveira, Caderno 3, Diário do Nordeste

“Um livro ao mesmo tempo melancólico e duro. De um lugar real.”
Francisco Carlos Palomares Martinho, USP, sobre “Entre facas, algodão”.

“Li Entre Facas, Algodão com prazer, achando difícil interromper a leitura a cada vez que as demandas da vida exigiam. Um livro , para mim, sobre a memória, com toda sua labilidade, falhas , lacunas, imprecisões e cargas emotivas. É um, talvez, como ler Santo Agostinho ou Maurice Halwachs falando desta mais que linda capacidade humana. A forma de diário, outra vez usada, redunda o próprio tema, assim como as dúvidas de seu narrador quanto a suas repetições.
Entre facas, algodão é também uma livro sobre a gente que compõe esta cidade, pois o narrador é tão verossímil, pensei que poderia encontrá-lo no banco de um ônibus ou na fila do pão, na banca de revista.”
Elane Peixoto, UnB


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