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,” Jo√£o 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 Jo√£o 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 РAlbert Guérard Professor in Literature, Stanford University (member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences)