Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Recommended Read: Edgard Telles Ribeiro

Just recently, I finished reading I Would Have Loved Him If I Had Not Killed Him by Brazilian author, Edgard Telles Ribeiro. The novel was for a World Literature class in which five contemporary authors visit to host a reading and short lecture.With a title like the one it has, I expected the book could have gone one of two ways: reminiscent of a soap opera, or an interesting read. What I didn't expect was the work of art that unfolded before me.

 The book is set mostly in Brazil, and it is narrated by a failed film-maker and an antiques dealer. The film-maker, Fernando, bumps into an old friend, Andrea (the antiques dealer). They begin to talk, when Fernando asks about why she decided to settle down and open an antiques shop in Brazil's capital city. Andrea explained by telling him the story of her recently deceased great-aunt. The great-aunt, Guilhermina, was married off at the age of 14. She was given by her parents to a 66-year-old man and raped on her wedding night. She spent every moment of their 7-year marriage planning his murder . What's even more interesting is that it was based on a true story, which the author revealed to us.

The author came to my university to give us a reading, and when he was going through the passages, the audience could really get a grasp of the rich language used in the text. The novel was crafted with such skill (narrative looping, intense imagery, symbolism, parallels, etc.), that when I had the chance to meet him and have my copy signed, I couldn't help but be a little nervous. I mentioned that the way he was able to weave together these stories reminded me of when I read One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (read it if you haven't), and he said to me, "Read Love in the Time of Cholera, and you'll fall in love with life." Since then, I hunted down a copy at a local Goodwill, and it's on my reading list.

I highly recommend this book, and I'm waiting for the English translation of his next novel to come out in September. Here is the link on Amazon. If you read it and don't like it, there's something wrong with you.

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