A Man and His Shadow

poetry by Affonso Romano de Sant'Anna
translated by Fred Ellison
bilingual Portuguese/English

7" x 5.5"
97 pages

Still relatively unknown in the United States, Nelson Rodrigues (1912 -1980) is considered by many to be Brazil's greatest playwright. He wrote seventeen full-length plays, as well as movie scripts, soap operas and novels. The fifty-eight stories in this collection are gathered from his newspaper column, A Vida Como Ela É (Life As It Is). Written in the 1950s, these stories have since been republished numerous times in Brazil, where they have been adapted for theater, television and cinema.

As strange and unnerving puzzle pieces, Rodrigues's stories expose the psychological fragility of Rio de Janeiro's middle class and offer a disquieting glimpse of the truth that lies behind the mundane façade of polite society. The characters we encounter in Life As It Is are recurring archetypes in Rodrigues's dramatic oeuvre—betrayed lovers and child molesters; murderers and gigolos—and their twisted interactions read like an inventory of mortal sins, with adultery, abuse, incest, prostitution and murder seemingly at every turn. Brutally funny, mournful, and outraged, these superbly crafted vignettes deliver a masterful blend of humor and pathos. Available in English for the first time, Life As It Is provides a beguiling showcase for the mordant wit and biting insights of one of the twentieth century's most singular talents.


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