José Roberto Walker

José Roberto Walker

JOSÉ ROBERTO WALKER

José Roberto Walker is a historian, publicist and cultural producer. He is currently director of TV Cultura, a public television network in São Paulo. In his long and brilliant career in the cultural arena, he directed the Brazilian Opera Company, the Philharmonic Orchestra Vera Cruz and several editions of the International Campos do Jordão Winter Festival. He has directed over a hundred TV and film documentaries and recordings of opera, dance and music performances. For the radio, Walker created numerous shows and programs dedicated to classical and Brazilian popular music. He has also produced opera performances and art exhibitions in public spaces in São Paulo.

A scholar on the history of São Paulo, he has co-authored several books, including THEATRO SÃO PEDRO: RESISTANCE AND PRESERVATION (THEATRO SÃO PEDRO: RESISTÊNCIA E PRESERVAÇÃO), 2000; COFFEE, RAILROAD AND METROPOLIS (CAFÉ, FERROVIA E A METRÓPOLE, 2001; SÃO PAULO’S NEAPOLITAN SCENE (O PRESÉPIO NAPOLITANO DE SÃO PAULO), 2002; and RAILWAY, A PROJECT FOR BRAZIL (FERROVIA, UM PROJETO PARA O BRASIL), 2005. A SNOWY MORNING IN SÃO PAULO is his first novel.

A SNOWY MORNING IN SÃO PAULO (NEVE NA MANHÃ DE SÃO PAULO)

On Tuesday, June 25, 1918, São Paulo woke up dressed in white. The frozen mist of the morning was the first and only snow that the city had ever seen and, on that same day – the coldest in its history – an incandescent case of love was consummated.

By the end of World War I, São Paulo was on the eve of becoming one of the largest cities in the world. There, a group of young men used to gather in a garçonnière for both amorous adventures and spirited discussions on politics and literature. Led by Oswald de Andrade, later to become one of the leaders of an important modernist art movement in Brazil, the group included several other writers who would themselves gain notoriety in the country. The young men kept a collective journal – which one of them dubbed “The Perfect Cook of Souls from This World” – to record that remarkable bohemian life. It was during those days that Oswald met a 17-year-old student and immediately fell in love with her. Different from other girls he and his friends knew, Daisy soon joined the group and acted as if she had always belonged there. Their love affair, however, challenged Oswald, who was then 27 and already a father, in many ways.

The strong presence of Daisy in the literary gatherings and the tragic romance between her and Oswald de Andrade were documented in their journal. In A SNOWY MORNING IN SÃO PAULO, it is up to Pedro – Oswald’s friend since childhood and the only one among the guys who never became a professional writer or achieved fame – to tell the drama in which he was one of the characters. A tale kept hidden for almost 40 years before an old and almost forgotten Oswald de Andrade started being ‘haunted’ once more by Daisy’s figure. And then Pedro had a story that could be hidden no more. This novel combines well known historical events with new facts arising from little-known or somehow neglected documents. Author J. R. Walker assembles, piece by piece, this complex puzzle and the picture that emerges is the beautiful and tragic face of Daisy, calling out from obscurity. Walker’s background as a historian and his long career in the cultural area made him the ideal writer to answer the call of Daisy and bring to life this non-fiction novel, a vivid, personal and historical puzzle.

Publication/Status: by Companhia das Letras (Brazil) in June 2017. Movie rights sold to MAR Filmes. [368 pages]