The Book of Emotions


JoĆ£o Almino, trans. from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Jackson. Dalkey Archive, $19.95 (232p) ISBN 978-1-56478-681-4

Nearing the end of his life in the year 2022, a blind Brazilian photographer, Cadu, revisits his past in Almino’s tale of memory and regret. Cadu lives alone, haunted by the yearning for all the women he’s loved and lost. His only remaining friends are Mauricio, the son of his late wife, and Carolina, his goddaughter whose mother he wished to seduce.
With Mauricio and Carolina’s help, he decides to create The Book of Emotions, a photo journal of his « incomplete, sentimental memories from a period in which [he] could see, and saw too much. » Although he is blind, the photos of former friends, lovers, and enemies « reveal themselves in rich detail » in his mind, evoking powerful emotions from years past. The journal begins when his lover Joana leaves him for the wealthy politician Eduardo Kaufman.

Cadu then moves to the capital city, BrasĆ­lia, where he finds political corruption and chases a series of women, images of whom he captures for his exhibit of nude photographs and which epitomize his « instantaneous, fleeting and sometimes deceptive reality.

Almino (The Five Seasons of Love) 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.