JOÃO ALMINO

BIOGRAPHY

João Almino is a Brazilian writer and diplomat. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Brasília Quintet, which is comprised of the novels Ideas on Where to Spend the End of the World, Samba-Enredo, The Five Seasons of Love (first published in Portuguese by Editora Record; published in Spanish by Alfaguara, México, and Corregidor, Buenos Aires; Casa de las Americas 2003 Literary Award; in English by Host Publications, 2008; in Italian by Editrice Il Sirente, 2012); The Book of Emotions (Editora Record, 2008; in English by Dalkey Archive Press, 2012) and Cidade Livre (Editora Record, 2010; in French, 2012, by Editions Métailié, and in English, 2013, by Dalkey Archive Press; Passo Fundo Zaffari & Bourbon Literary Award for best novel published in Brazil from 2009 to 2011; shortlisted for the Jabuti and the Portugal-Telecom Literary Awards). His novel Enigmas of Spring (Editora Record, 2015; Dalkey Archive Press, 2016) was shortlisted for the Rio Literary Award 2016 and for the São Paulo Literary Award 2016 and received the 2017 Jabuti Award (2nd place) for Brazilian Book Published Abroad. His most recent novel is Entre facas, algodão (The last turn of the knife). Among his non-fiction works, a translation of some of his literary essays was published in Argentina as Tendencias de la literatura brasileña: escritos en contrapunto (Leviatán, Buenos Aires, 2010). O diabrete angélico e o pavão, on Machado de Assis, was published in 2009. His works of political science and philosophy have been a reference source for the study of authoritarianism and democracy in Brazil. They include the following books: The Authoritarian Democrats, The Age of the Present, Secrecy and Information, Once Upon a Time a Constituent Assembly and Still Life: The Political Philosophy of Ecology. In 2017 he published two books of essay on Utopia, by Thomas Mores (500 Years of Utopia and Two Essays on Utopia). He obtained his Doctor degree in Paris under the direction of philosopher Claude Lefort. He taught at the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM), at the University of Brasília (UnB), the Instituto Rio Branco, Berkeley, Stanford and the University of Chicago. In 2017 he was elected to the Brazilian Academy of Letters.

WORKS BY THE AUTHOR:

FICTION:

  • Idéias para Onde Passar o Fim do Mundo, 1987.
  • Samba-Enredo, 1994.
  • As Cinco Estações do Amor, 2001.
  • The Five Seasons of Love, 2008.
  • O Livro das Emoções, 2008.
  • The Book of Emotions, 2012.
  • Cidade Livre, 2010.
  • Enigmas da Primavera, 2015.
  • Enigmas of Spring, 2016.
  • Entre facas, algodão, 2017.

NON-FICTION:

  • Os Democratas Autoritários, 1980.
  • A Idade do Presente, 1985.
  • Era uma Vez uma Constituinte, 1985.
  • O Segredo e a Informação, 1986.
  • Brasil/EUA, Balanço Poético, 1997.
  • Literatura Brasileira e Portuguesa Ano 2000 (org. com Arnaldo Saraiva), 2000.
  • Rio Branco, a América do Sul e Modernização do Brasil (org. com Carlos Henrique Cardim), 2002.
  • Naturezas Mortas – A Filosofia Política do Ecologismo, 2004.
  • Escrita em Contraponto – Ensaios Literários, 2008.
  • O diabrete angélico e o pavão: Enredo e amor possíveis em Brás Cubas, 2009.
  • 500 Anos de Utopia, 2017.
  • Dois Ensaios sobre Utopia, 2017.

According to Brazilian critic João Cezar de Castro Rocha, in João Almino´s works, Brasilia is “a laboratory of linguistic, political and existential experiences.”

Free City, published in English by Dalkey Archive Press, won the Zaffari & Bourbon Biannual Literary Award for best novel published in Brazil between 2009 and 2011 and was shortlisted for both Jabuti and Portugal-Telecom literary awards. American author Lorrie Moore considered it “brilliant.” According to her, “João Almino has put the city [Brasilia] on the literary map, and in his Borgesian/anthropological/passionate way.” Writing in Words Without Borders, Ksenija Bilbija said that it “is masterfully written…[A] richly symbolic narrative.” The story takes place in a village that was built to host the workers, engineers, businessmen, mystic sects and adventurers during the time of the construction of Brasília.

In The Book of Emotions, also published in English by Dalkey Archive Press, a blind photographer considers a sequence of his old photographs. According to a review in Publishers Weekly, “Almino succeeds in capturing the essences 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.”

In The Five Seasons of Love, “a brilliant and thought-provoking novel” in the words of critic Marjorie Perloff, 55-year old Ana Kauffman plans a party to celebrate the new millennium. As old friends resurface, Ana’s past undergoes a series of unexpected revisions – beginning with the arrival of Berta, the newly minted post-op persona of Ana’s former boyfriend Norberto. Dr. Steven F. Butterman, writing a review at Literature and Arts of the Americas, says, “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, João Almino’s The 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 most recent novel by João Almino, Enigmas of Spring, was published in Brazil in May 2015 and is forthcoming in English by Dalkey Archive Press. It tells the story of a 20-year-old Brazilian who journeys from Brasilia to Madrid to Granada while facing the dilemmas and tensions of the contemporary world. The tale focuses on the crises of the Arab world, Islam in its various expressions, and the themes of tolerance and intolerance, while revisiting an older story, that of the Arab Sultanate of Granada. At the novel’s center lie the various youth rebellions, including those of the Arabs, the “indignados” of Spain, and the Brazilian demonstrations in June, 2013. In this novel, a bored, young man in Brasilia, who lives mostly online, falls in love with a married woman and flees to Madrid, but his vague interests threaten to boil over into deadly violence. Reviewed in the main Brazilian newspapers, it was considered 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” (Folha de S. Paulo).


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