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Não Falei [Reading] ➸ Não Falei Author Beatriz Bracher – Narrado na primeira pessoa este romance de Beatriz Bracher tem como protagonista um professor ue as vésperas de mudar de cidade se põe a refletir sobre o período da luta armada no Brasil dos anos 6 Narrado na primeira pessoa este romance de Beatriz Bracher tem como protagonista um professor ue as vésperas de mudar de cidade se põe a refletir sobre o período da luta armada no Brasil dos anos e e as contradições ue daí resultaram para o país e para sua vida.

10 thoughts on “Não Falei

  1. Paul Fulcher Paul Fulcher says:

    Look I was tortured and they say I snitched on a comrade who was later killed by soldiers’ bullets I didn’t snitch — I almost died in the room where I could have snitched but I didn’t talk They said I talked and Armando died I was released two days after his death and they let me stay on as the school principal Beatriz Bracher's Não Falei was published in Brazil in 2004 on the 40th anniversary of the 'Golpe de 64' the US backed military coup that overthrew the democratic government and ushered in two decades of dictatorship As 'I didn't talk' it has been brought to us in English translation in 2018 by Adam Morris and New Directions Press The novel is also set in 2004 and narrated by Gustavo now 64 and looking back on an incident from 1970 Peripherally involved with the resistance movement to the dictatorship he was arrested and tortured Subsuently his childhood best friend Armando also his brother in law who was active in the armed resistance was arrested and shot while Gustavo was later released without charge Gustavo's wife Eliana Armando's brother died soon afterwards in exile in Paris from pneumonia and from grief? leaving Gustavo to bring up their daughter aloneGustavo is haunted by the suspiscion that under torture he betrayed Armando something he refutes As the novel opens he has just retired from his job as an educator and preparing to move out of the family home As he prepares to leave and packs memories are triggered and he feels inclined to tell his story indeed he is urged to by Cecilia a young aspiring novelist who wants to use his experiences for a novel based on the early days of the resistance Except such a simple thing isn't really possible If it's possible to have a thought without a word or an image without time and space complete created by me a revelation of what remains hidden in me and from me but suddenly appears if it could be born so clearly for all to see without origin without any effort of breath of tone of voice of rhythm or hesitation without vision even emerging like a normal thought or than a thought; a thing if such a thing could exist then I'd like to tell a storyInstead what we get in this slim but dense 150 page novel is a much fractured tale His thoughts are interspersed with other sources his notes on his theories of pedagogy diaries of his sister recollections of his parents literary passages and a semi autobiographical novel written by his elder brother Jose one where Jose unashamedly mimics other authors notably Machado de Assis He wrote of reminiscing and I think of creating; he wrote of discovering and I need to be establishing His Machadian tone — which José cultivates in a way that borders on plagiarism yet somehow remains paradoxically his own — revived my happiness in the same way that when absorbed in some specific and complex composition we’re surprised by the sound of birdsong“This is what happens to me as I go about remembering and shaping the construction or reconstruction of myself” Machado as written by Jose As I go about remembering what a beautiful thing I need to reread Machado retrieve the unexpected things I no longer remember Unlike José who tries like Dom Casmurro to construct a past that will be kind to him in the present I look for my errors I kick stones and send the cockroaches running I walk through spiderwebs that spread across my face and ask every smug milestone I’ve passed What purpose do you serve in my life? Did you manage to hold firm emit light make noise serve at least as a pillar to sustain the person who made you or are you already so spoiled by applause that the flick of a finger could send you tumbling over a cliff into the calm and muddy river of the satisfied? Machado's Dom Casmurro with its subjective and distrusting narrator also serves as a model here except here the suspiscions of Gustavo are trained on himselfLanguage plays a key role in both Gustavo's life and theories as an educator but also the novel I was always favorable to the presence in every classroom of a Portuguese dictionary an etymological dictionary a Latin dictionary a Greek dictionary a common grammar and a dictionary of verb and prepositional correspondences And not in some corner of the room but on my desk to be handled at all times without formalityThe old play on words—traduttore traditore—takes its meaning not merely from the phonetic similarity between the two words or the deeper meaning it gives to the act of translation The similarity is simple and it’s right there in the root of the words both of which refer to act of passing from one side to another We know that this going–over is never innocent and that nothing that crosses over can ever come back unharmed Etymology is particularly important and tribute here must be paid to Morris's excellent translation smoothly discussing the Portuguese language in EnglishI did have one minor gripe here though 1970 was also the year of Brazil's 3rd and most famous World Cup win and football both the Brazilian national team and Pele's Santos feature throughout But this was the least convincing part of the novel I never really believed the narrator actually followed football and I suspect the otherwise excellent translation was responsible A female friend who “never got to the point of understanding the championship brackets or keeping up with the scuttlebutt” games analysed as “a seuence of plays” and fans “rattling off the entire roster” might work when describing basketball or American football but sounds unconvincing applied to football as indeed does the term soccerThere is a lot in the book on education One excellent passage talks about how academic disciplines embed their past histories and disputes in their language Every discipline has its own specific procedures creating according to its needs And I'm not referring to the theoretical bias of a particular school but to the slice of reality that each branch of knowledge sets out to create This slice obliges us to use a certain language to establish its names and necessary procedures so that through it we can get closer There's already a story in motion its false starts and deviations the results of ancient battles that today are meaningless but language continues to carry the names we are in fact obliged to use if we wish to have our thoughts included in the common chainI wasn't trained for any special chain I was never part of any of the organisations and I had to guess at the correct knowledgeexcept neatly the last part the lack of training he refers to links back to the novel's main subject matter As a peripheral figure Gustavo had not been trained unlike Armando for what to do and say under torture he later finds the keys include giving up credible information but which you know is already known by the torturers; naming those who aren't really involved like Gustavo himself; and disassembling and resisting long enough 3 4 days for the key figures to go into hidingBut spotting this link was the exception not the rule for me In his review by GR friend enricocioni comments that he had to re read carefully to follow the threads and still feels he needs another read to figure it all out I've yet to do that and at times as Gustavo remarks about watching others getting emotional we see and feel the heat of combustion but are not a part of it   Towards the end of his musing Gustavo realises Maybe no one has ever considered me a traitor except myself An excellent review HT again to enricocioni And an interview with the translator 35 stars rounded down to 3 although that reflects my reading experience than what is clearly an impressive book and the dodgy 'soccerball'  Appendix Asymptote Book Club The book first came to my attention via the excellent Asymptote Book Club which I would highly recommend the Asymptote Journal team select a piece of world literature each month from some of the leading independent presses in Canada the US and the UK Their reviewintroduction to this novel the list of books to date13 The Barefoot Woman by Scholastiue Mukasonga tr Jordan Stump published by Archipelago Booksmy review 12 Hotel Tito by Ivana Simić Bodrožić tr Ellen Elias Bursać published by Seven Stories Pressmy review 11 Oct 18 Like a Sword Wound by Ahmet Altan tr Brendan Freely and Yelda Türedi published by Seven Storiesmy review 10 Sep 18 Moving Parts by Prabda Yoon tr Mui Poopoksakul published by Tilted Axis Pressmy review 9 Aug 18 Revenge of the Translator by Brice Matthieussen tr Emma Ramadan published by Deep Vellum8 Jul 18 I Didn't Talk by Beatriz Bracher tr Adam Morris published by New Directionsmy review 7 Jun 18 The Tidings of the Trees by Wolfgang Hilbig tr Isabel Fargo Cole published by Two Lines Pressmy review 6 May 18 The Chilli Bean Paste Clan by Yan Ge tr Nicky Harmon published by Balestier Press5 Apr 18 Brother in Ice by Alicia Kopf tr Mara Faye Letham published by And Other Stories4 Mar 18 Trick by Dominico Starnone tr Jhumpa Lahiri published by Europa Editions3 Feb 18 Love by Hanne Ørstavik tr Martin Aitken published by Archipelago Books2 Jan 18 Aranyak Of the Forest by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay tr Rimli Bhattacharya published by Seagull Books 1 Dec 17 The Lime Tree by César Aira tr Chris Andrews published by And Other Stories

  2. enricocioni enricocioni says:

    It took me a long time to finish this one It's 150 pages of stream of consciousness and rich in complex ideas about memory and family and education and language and who knows what else so it reuires a degree of focus that I was only able to give it the last two days re reading the parts I'd managed to read over the past three weeks then finishing it this time armed with a pencil to underline key information and ideas as a kind of anchor And even now I feel like I need to read it at least once in order to figure it out But I'm fascinated than frustrated and I think that this is one of the most ambitious and remarkable books I've read this year Adam Morris's crisp clear translation actually manages makes the protagonist's constant theorising easier to follow the challenge for the reader I think is in piecing it all togetherI would very much recommend Victoria Baena's non spoilery review at the LA Review of Books

  3. Marie-Therese Marie-Therese says:

    45 stars Really compelling beautifully structured book that is dense with rich chewy ideas and restrained but poignant emotion I can't really do justice to it right now but suffice to say that this book should have won the 2018 National Book Award for Translation as it was light years better than anything that made the short list

  4. May May says:

    I finally finished this book you don't know how happy this makes me

  5. Justin Evans Justin Evans says:

    I wanted to like this than I did and perhaps a second read in a few years will set me right but I found it far too unfocused That's a shame because otherwise it's everything I like a bit of philosophy here a bit of depressing history there a boatload of moral conundrum and impossibility But I think it needed to either be three times as long or to lose a few of the many many threads which I at least found no way of tying together

  6. Anna Anna says:

    Slim but powerful A stunning reflection on how politics seep into the personal how every member of a given society no matter hisher own opinions is affected by those who resist by those who actively support the regime and also by those who are indifferent

  7. Debbie Debbie says:

    As I was reading this book I would almost grasp it and then I found the author went off on a different tack Maybe I'm not a fan of meandering books that dwell on unpleasantness and darkness

  8. Laurel Laurel says:

    There's no chapters This book feels like a conversation

  9. Rafaela Kino Rafaela Kino says:


  10. Paul Kerschen Paul Kerschen says:

    I thought the big reveal was going to be that he did talk but the whole thing is much subtler than that bravo

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