Rubem Fonseca

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Rubem Fonseca (May 11, 1925 – April 15, 2020) was a Brazilian writer. [1] [2]


Life and career

He was born in Juiz de Fora, in the state of Minas Gerais, but he lived most of his life in Rio de Janeiro. In 1952, he started his career as a low-level cop and, later became a police commissioner, one of the highest ranks in the civil police of Brazil. Following the steps of American novelist Thomas Pynchon, a close friend of Fonseca, he refused to give interviews and felt strongly about maintaining his privacy. [3]

His stories are dark and gritty, filled with violence and sexual content, and usually set in an urban environment. He claimed a writer should have the courage to show what most people are afraid to say. His work is considered groundbreaking in Brazilian literature [ by whom? ], up until then mostly focused on rural settings and usually treating cities with less interest[ dubious ]. Almost all Brazilian contemporary writers acknowledge Fonseca's importance[ citation needed ]. Authors from the rising generation of Brazilian writers, such as Patrícia Melo or Luiz Ruffato, have stated that Fonseca's writing has influenced their work. [3]

He started his career by writing short stories, considered by some critics as his strongest literary creations. His first popular novel was A Grande Arte (High Art), but "Agosto" is usually considered his best work[ citation needed ]. One recurring character in Fonseca's books is the lawyer-detective Mandrake. [4]

In 2003, he won the Camões Prize, considered to be the most important award in the Portuguese language.

In 2012 he became the first recipient of Chile's Manuel Rojas Ibero-American Narrative Award. [5]

He died in Rio de Janeiro in April 2020 at the age of 94 just 26 days before his 95th birthday [6]


Brazilian editions

Novels and novellas

  • O Caso Morel (1973)
  • A Grande Arte (1983)
  • Bufo & Spallanzani (1986)
  • Vastas Emoções e Pensamentos Imperfeitos (1988)
  • Agosto (1990)
  • O Selvagem da Ópera (1994)
  • Do Meio do Mundo Prostituto Só Amores Guardei ao Meu Charuto (1997, novella)
  • O doente Molière (2000, novella)
  • Diário de um Fescenino (2003)
  • Mandrake: A Bíblia e a Bengala (2005, novella)
  • O Seminarista (2009)
  • José (2011)

Short story collections and anthologies

  • Os Prisioneiros (1963)
  • A Coleira do Cão (1965)
  • Lúcia McCartney (1967)
  • Feliz Ano Novo (1975)
  • O Homem de Fevereiro ou Março (1973)
  • O Cobrador (1979)
  • Romance Negro e Outras Histórias (1992)
  • Contos Reunidos (1994)
  • O Buraco na Parede (1995)
  • Romance Negro, Feliz Ano Novo e Outras Histórias (1996)
  • Histórias de Amor (1997)
  • Confraria dos Espadas (1998)
  • Secreções, Excreções e Desatinos (2001)
  • Pequenas Criaturas (2002)
  • 64 Contos de Rubem Fonseca (2004)
  • Ela e Outras Mulheres (2006)
  • Axilas e Outras Histórias Indecorosas (2011)
  • Histórias Curtas (2015)

English translations

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The Taker and Other Stories by Rubem Fonseca is a collection of short crime fiction stories set in Brazil. The stories have a wide range in page length and in severity of crimes, but all follow themes of class inequality, justice, and, entitlement. For instance, in the story of "The Taker" the main character feels entitled to everything. He feels that those in society who have something he doesn't owe him that thing. So, he takes it. The criminals usually feel justified in their own actions and treat things such as murder as things that have to be done. In the stories "Night Drive" and "The Other" the main character seems to commit his crime or crimes for the sake of his own sanity. Christopher Ballantyne remarks on Fonseca's inclination to examine order in a world of violence. Even though his publication came out before this collection of short stories was released, his point holds true for this piece of Fonseca's work as well as his older ones. He notes that, above all, this is what Fonseca's work excels at doing. "The Taker and Other Stories" also presents many different worlds caught between violence and order.

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  1. Wilmington, Michael (October 30, 1991). "MOVIE REVIEW 'Exposure' Settles for Less Than Tantalizing Potential". Los Angeles Times . p. 5. Retrieved 28 April 2011. There may be something unconsciously premonitory about the fact that the people who've made a movie out of Rubem Fonseca's fascinating Brazilian thriller ...
  2. Polk, James (August 23, 1998). "Blame It on Rio". New York Times . Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  3. 1 2 Tello Garrido, Romeo. Prólogo en Fonseca Rubem, Los mejores relatos. México: Alfaguara, 1998.
  4. "Folha Online - Ilustrada - "Mandrake", de Rubem Fonseca, entra na lista dos mais vendidos - 15/08/2005". Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  5. García, Javier (28 September 2012). "Fonseca, el policial más duro de Brasil, recibe el premio Manuel Rojas" [Fonseca, the Toughest Policeman in Brazil, Receives the Manuel Rojas Award]. La Tercera (in Spanish). Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  6. "Morre o escritor Rubem Fonseca aos 94 anos". GaúchaZH. April 15, 2020.

Further reading