Raphael Montes

Raphael Montes

RAPHAEL MONTES

Raphael Montes was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1990. A lawyer and writer, he has published in various mystery anthologies including Playboy, Rio Noir, and the celebrated American magazine Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. At 20, he impressed critics and public alike with SUICIDES, then published by Benvirá and recently relaunched by Companhia das Letras, a masterly crime novel and a finalist for the Benvirá Literature Award in 2010, the Machado de Assis Award in 2012 awarded by the Brazilian National Library, and the prestigious São Paulo Literature Award 2013.

His second novel, PERFECT DAYS, was published in several countries and Raphael was highly praised everywhere; The Guardian called him “a mixture of Alfred Hitchcock’s suspense with Quentin Tarantino’s black comedy”. He also wrote a third novel called SECRET DINNER (2016) and is currently working as a screenwriter at TV Globo. All of his books are sold to the movies.

SECRET DINNER (JANTAR SECRETO)

Polemic and gory, Raphael Montes’ latest thriller tells about four childhood friends who move from the interior of Brazil to Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, where they will share an apartment while finishing college. One is in Business, the other in Medicine, a third studies IT, and the fourth is into Tourism intending to become a chef. After graduating, they still face huge obstacles to find jobs in the midst of a terrible economic crisis and make ends meet and pay the rent. One day, quite inadvertently, they start an illegal business: secret dinners organized through the internet for very special customers looking for an exotic and totally non-orthodox gastronomic experience. As times pass, what started as a joke becomes big business, and the four of them get rich.

With so much money, they create an oppressive atmosphere for themselves, with distrust, paranoia, ambition, and violence. A thrilling narrative full of dark humour, SECRET DINNER is a hyperbolic allegory on vegetarianism, the limits of the human being, and on a purposeless youth. It is also a dark study on how ambition and money can change people.

Publication/Status: by Companhia das Letras (Brazil) in November 2016; and by Filia (Poland) in June 2017.  Sold to Albatros Media Group (Czech Republic), Penguin Random House (Spain) and Éditions du Masque (France). Film rights sold to RT Features. [360 pages]

PERFECT DAYS (DIAS PERFEITOS)

“Raphael Montes is one of the most brilliant young novelists I’ve encountered. He is certain to redefine Brazilian crime fiction and to emerge as a figure on the world literary scene.”
– Scott Turow

“Raphael Montes is the Brazilian Stephen King.”
– Fernanda Torres

Téo is a young medical student who divides his time between taking care of his paraplegic mother and dissecting cadavers in Anatomy classes – the moment he feels happiest. When he meets Clarice, he becomes obsessed with her and begins to stalk her. He discovers that Clarice dreams of being a scriptwriter and is writing a road movie named Perfect Days about three female friends who set out on a car trip throughout Brazil. When he tries to approach her, Teo is rebuffed and, driven to extremes, kidnaps her. Clarice is sedated and placed in the passenger seat of his car, and a journey around the country begins – the same as the characters in her script. He hopes to make her fall in love with him. Passing through settings like a chalet in Teresópolis and a deserted beach on an island near Rio de Janeiro, this dark-toned and sometimes suffocating psychological thriller explores the tension between the two characters through attitudes and dialogues that leave the reader wondering whether the attempt to seduce Clarice is really working.

Publication/Status: by Companhia das Letras in April, 2014; by Random House Spain in February, 2015; by Les Deux Terres (France) in March, 2015; by Cargo/De Bezige Bij (Netherlands) and Objectiva (Portugal) in May, 2015; by Hurtubise (French Canada) in September, 2015; by Penguin Press (US), Harvill Secker (UK) and 10/18-Univers Poche (France) in February, 2016; by Einaudi (Italia) in March, 2016; by Filia (Poland) and Penguin (English Canada) also in 2016; by Dogan (Turkey), Fantasy (Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau), Albatros Media Group (Czech Republic), Gyldendal (Denmark) and Blanvalet (Germany) in 2017. To be published by Cappelen Dam (Norway). Film rights sold to RT Features. [280 pages]

THE VILLAGE (O VILAREJO)

This is a fix-up novel aimed at the young-adult market, with elements of suspense and gothic horror. The book comprises seven stories set in a snowbound village in an undefined period with overtones of the time of the Second World War. The work is based on theories of the priest and demonologist Peter Binsfeld, who in 1589 linked each of the Seven Deadly Sins to an individual demon supposedly responsible for invoking the respective sin in human beings. Thus, each story explores a different deadly sin, slowly and gradually depicting the degradation of the inhabitants. Little by little, the village is decimated, defiled by cold and hunger. The stories can be read in any order without affecting understanding, but they are related in a complex fashion, so that a character with a mysterious past has his life explained at another point, and sometimes one story clarifies–even modifies–the ending of another.

At the conclusion, the reader discovers that the narratives converge upon a unique and startling denouement. The author utilizes a carefully woven plot, narrated in the language of fable, to explore universal themes. To an extent, THE VILLAGE is a microcosm of our society, dealing with prejudice, social inequality, ambition, and sexually transmitted diseases in a direct and intriguing manner that leads the young reader to reflect on these and other issues.

Publication/Status: by Suma das Letras/ Companhia das Letras Group (Brazil) in September 2015. Film rights sold to Dogs Can Fly. Full English translation available. [92 pages]

SUICIDES (SUICIDAS)

“A boy invades noir territory.”
– O Estado de São Paulo

“Raphael authoritatively serves up a complete meal for fans of crime fiction.”
– Correio Braziliense

“SUICIDES displays the energy of a new author who already knows quite well what he is doing. A huge book, in every sense.”
– Santiago Nazarian, writer

A cellar, nine youths, and a Magnum 608. What could have caused nine elite Rio de Janeiro university students – seemingly without problems – to play Russian roulette? A year after the tragedy, which ended violently and mysteriously, a new clue, till then kept secret by the police, casts light on the case. At the behest of police detective Diana Guimarães, the mothers of the young people are brought together in an effort to understand what really happened and the motives that led to suicide. Reading notes made by one of the suicides during the fatal incident, the women are swept into the whirlwind of the acts that culminated in the death of their children.

In the increasingly charged atmosphere of the meeting, the false piety of social masks is stripped away and a greater truth begins to emerge. A gripping plot with an unpredictable ending.

Publication/Status: by Benvirá (Brazil) in 2012. A second edition was published by Companhia das Letras (Brazil) in July 2017. Film rights sold to RT Features. English sample chapters available. [488 pages]