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Books : Series : The Americas

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The Neighborhood (cloth)
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The Neighborhood (cloth)

Retail Price $29.95
Sale Price $23.96
Literary fiction
304 pages | 5.5 x 9 | cloth
122 b/w illustrations
The Americas
Published 10 2012
978-0-89672-711-3

A block party for the literati

The Neighborhood (cloth)

Gonçalo M. Tavares, translated by Roopanjali Roy; illustrated by Rachel Caiano; introduction by Philip Graham

Imagine you could create your own utopian writers' quarter—a close-knit community of those you admire or who have influenced you profoundly. For award-winning Portuguese author Gonçalo M. Tavares, six favorite senhores —“Misters” Calvino, Valéry, Juarroz, Kraus, Walser, and Henri—haunt the sidewalks, cafes, and back alleys of a fictive Lisbon bairro.

Readers will appreciate the homages to Italian fabulist Italo Calvino, French poet and critic Paul Valéry, Argentinean poet Roberto Juarroz, Swiss modernist Robert Walser, Austrian writer and satirist Karl Kraus, and Belgian neosurrealist Henri Michaux, but Tavares’s deceptively simple style appeals on many levels. In this imaginative territory, for instance, diminutive Mister Valéry jumps up and down—satisfied to be as tall as his fellow men if “only for a shorter while.” His more egocentric neighbor, Mister Henri, philosophizes about the virtues of absinthe, acknowledging the drink can make equally for a better or worse reality.

Enhancing each story are the drawings of Rachel Caiano, whose minimalist depictions mirror the essence of the personal, logical, and political absurdities that intrigue in these simple yet profound tales.

When we visit Tavares’s neighborhood, its building blocks made of books, we are also visiting a version of ourselves. —Philip Graham, from the foreword

Of novelist Gonçalo M. Tavares, professor of epistemology at the University of Lisbon, Nobel laureate José Saramago declared, “Tavares has no right to be writing so well at the age of thirty-five. One feels like punching him”—and later said, "Gonçalo M. Tavares burst onto the Portuguese literary scene armed with an utterly original imagination that broke through all the traditional imaginative boundaries. I’ve predicted that in thirty years’ time, if not before, he will win the Nobel Prize and I’m sure my prediction will come true. My only regret is that I won’t be there to give him a congratulatory hug."
      Tavares is the winner of numerous international awards, including the Brazilian Prêmio Portugal Telecom in 2007 for Jerusalém and the 2010 Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger for Apprendre à prier à l’ère de la technique (Aprender a Rezar na Era da Técnica / Learning to Pray in the Age of Technique).

Roopanjali Roy
has been a Portuguese translator and interpreter for more than twenty years, translating more than seventeen books of literature and history. Since 2004 she has been a lecturer in Hindi and Indian culture at the Universidade Catíólica in Lisbon.

Rachel Caiano is a Portuguese artist and illustrator of fiction, children's literature, book covers, and other publications.

Author Philip Graham is professor in the creative writing program at the Universty of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and also teaches in the low-residency MFA program of the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Additional resources for this title include downloadable hi-res images and supplemental resources, where available:
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Author headshot
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Author's website



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