Miguel Sanches Neto

Miguel Sanches Neto

MIGUEL SANCHES NETO

Born in 1965 in Southern Brazil, Miguel Sanches Neto is one of the leading writers of contemporary Brazilian literature. His novels combine human depth, narrative dexterity, and critical vision. Coming from a family of uneducated laborers, Sanches Neto was formerly a farmhand, an agricultural technician, and a schoolteacher. Today he teaches literature at the university level and contributes to Brazil’s major newspapers and magazines. A finalist for the most prestigious national book awards, he received the 2002 Cruz e Sousa Prize and the Binational Brazil-Argentina Arts and Culture Award (2005).

His literary output has been continuous, as evidenced by the publication years of his novels: CHOVE NA MINHA INFÂNCIA (RAIN ON MY CHILDHOOD), in 2000; UM AMOR ANARQUISTA (AN ANARCHIST LOVE), in 2005; A PRIMEIRA MULHER (THE FIRST WOMAN), in 2008; CHÁ DAS CINCO COM O VAMPIRO (FIVE O’CLOCK TEA WITH THE VAMPIRE), in 2010; A MÁQUINA DE MADEIRA (The WOOD WORD), in 2012; A SEGUNDA PÁTRIA (THE SECOND FATHERLAND), in 2015; and a volume of short stories called O MÓVEL MUNDO (MOBILE WORLD) to be published by Companhia das Letras in 2017.

“(Miguel Sanches is) the best author of his generation.”
– Veja Magazine

“One of the great writers of our time.”
– O Globo

“An author recognized as one of today’s finest Brazilian writer.”
– Época Magazine

A BÍBLIA DO CHE (CHE GUEVARA’S BIBLE)

Former Literature professor and amateur detective, Carlos Eduardo Pessoa have been living for ten years in an office space at a legendary building, Edifício Asa, in the city of Curitiba, Southern Brazil. He never strays more than half a mile away from home, only moves around on foot and shuns anything that resembles group living, be it, friends or family. But this isolation begins to crumble when figures from the past seek him out, involving Pessoa in a work assignment and a new passion, even though he has sworn off all women for life. He is hired to find a cult object for now wealthy former communists – a bible in which Che Guevara, disguised as a priest, made a number of notes, during his travels around Brazil on his way to Bolivia, in the late 1960s, profiling Jesus as a guerrilla fighter.

The start of the assignment takes Professor Pessoa through the political underworld, bringing him into contact with corrupt figures investigated nowadays by the Brazilian Federal Police Operation Car Wash for the embezzlement of billions from the nation’s oil giant, Petrobras. The task then prompts him to depart on a romantic journey through the setting of the guerrilla war in the heart of Bolivia and to the exact place where Guevara died in 1967. Che Guevara’s Bible works like a detective story in which solving crimes is secondary to negotiating the great labyrinth of a time of broken dreams.

Publication/ Status:  By Companhia das Letras (Brazil) in May, 2016.

A SEGUNDA PÁTRIA (THE SECOND HOMELAND)

Here is a novel of alternative History about the horrendous latent possibilities of Nazism taking power in the south of Brazil during the 1930’s and the II World War. During Vargas dictatorship, a secret deal with Germany enforces the Nazi Party in Brazil, promoting the militarization of the German colonies – in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Parana. Following the steps of Adolpho Ventura, a brilliant black man who suffers from Nazi persecution, mainly after his “Aryan” girlfriend gives birth to a mixed blood son, the book reveals a strategically erased page of Brazilian history – a serious affair with the racialist ideology –, building a narrative full of tensions between tropical Brazil and Europe, in a frightening proposal of social cleansing.

Historical turnarounds provoke a wave of violence which delights the ruling elite in a nation that does not see itself and does not accept its character as a product of blood mixture. In that other Brazil, Black people do not have a place. One of the characters says: “Getulio Vargas is teaching us what it means to be black in Brazil.”

With the intensity of a Tarantino movie, Miguel Sanches’ novel shows us, Brazilians, that our History could have been a nightmare.

Publication/Status: By Intrínseca (Brazil) in May 2015. Movie and TV rights sold to RT Filmes/Camisa Treze.

THE WOOD WORD (A MÁQUINA DE MADEIRA)

“Historical novel, right, but well seasoned by a memoir drive. Even if we talk about posthumous memories of a future that has never materialized.”
– João Cezar de Castro Rocha, O Estado de S. Paulo

In a mid 19th century Brazil, a society based on slave labor and concerned with putting down an indigenous mythology, a priest scientist dreams about instruments destined to free humans from labor. Among his inventions is the world’s first mass the producible typewriter, completed in 1859 and awarded a prize at the 1861 National Expo in Rio de Janeiro. The narrative follows Brazil’s attempts on modernization and the dilemmas of a man torn between priesthood and science, between celibacy and love for an ex-slave. The author depicts a country unable to keep up with its finest minds and that ends up left behind.

Its innovations are smuggled to the US, where the typewriter is industrialized (under the Remington brand) while the priest’s name is erased from history. A swift, moving and humane novel, that speaks of Brazil past and present, and a requiem to the mechanical world.

Publication/Status: By Companhia das Letras (Brazil) in 2012 and by Lux Éditeur (French Canada).

AN ANARCHIST LOVE (UM AMOR ANARQUISTA)

In the late 19th century, during the scientific wave in Western thought, a young Italian, Giovanni Rossi, decides to test the theories of anarchist communism. Relying on the opportunities of immigration to southern Brazil, he and a group of friends depart for an undeveloped region to found a communist colony –the Cecilia Colony, Latin America’s first anarchist community. They purchase land from the Brazilian government and attempt to put their principles into practice. Among these, is free love, which means children born in this new era will belong to all rather than to specific parents. In this quest for egalitarian relationships, the tensions of a life of hardships emerge, demonstrating the ideology’s practical impossibility.

The colony does not last long, but a greater love endures. Giovanni Rossi lives forever with a woman who gave birth to children of several men.

Publication/Status: By Record (Brazil) in 2005 and Beatriz Viterbo (Argentina).