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Join us on Zoom on Tuesday, June 14 at 7 PM, as Bruna Dantas Lobato discusses her translation of Moldy Strawberries:Stories by Caio Fernando Abreu. She will be joined in conversation by Andrea Lawlor, Assistant Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College.
Surreal and gripping stories about desire, tyranny, fear, and love, from one of Brazil’s greatest queer writers, whose work is appearing in English for the first time.
In 18 gripping and daring stories filled with tension and intimacy, Caio Fernando Abreu navigates a Brazil transformed by the AIDS epidemic and stifling military dictatorship of the 80s.
Tenderly suspended between fear and longing, Abreu’s characters grasp for connection:
• A man speckled with Carnival glitter crosses a crowded dance floor and seeks the warmth and beauty of another body.
• A budding office friendship between two young men turns into a surprising love, “a strange and secret harmony." One man desires another but fears a clumsy word or gesture might tear their plot to pieces.
After so many precarious offerings--a salvaged cigarette, a knock on the door from withing the downpour of a dream, or a tight-lipped smile--Abreu’s schemes explode and implode. Junkies, failed revolutionaries, poets, and conflicted artists face threats at every turn. But, inwardly ferocious and secretly resilient, they heal.
For Caio Fernando Abreu there is beauty on the horizon, mingled with luminous memory and decay.
Translated by Bruna Dantas Lobato, currently an Iowa Arts Fellow and MFA candidate in Literary Translation at the University of Iowa.
Caio Fernando Abreu (b. 1948) was one of the most influential Brazilian writers of the 1970s and 80s, despite his work remaining underrecognized outside of Brazil. The author of 20 books, including 12 story collections and two novels, he has been awarded major literary prizes. During the military dictatorship in Brazil (1964–1985), his homoerotic writing was heavily censored and he was soon put on a wanted list, finding refuge in the literary counterculture and eventually by going into self-exile in Europe. In 1994, while living in France, he tested HIV positive. He died two years later in his hometown. He was 47 years old.
Bruna Dantas Lobato is a Brazilian writer and literary translator based in St. Louis. Her work has appeared in A Public Space, BOMB, Kenyon Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Common, and elsewhere. Dantas Lobato has received fellowships from Yaddo, A Public Space, NYU, and the University of Iowa.
Andrea Lawlor teaches writing at Mount Holyoke College, is the recipient of a 2020 Whiting Award for Fiction, and has been awarded fellowships by Lambda Literary and Radar Labs. Their publications include a chapbook, Position Papers (Factory Hollow Press, 2016), and a novel, Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl (Vintage, 2019) a finalist for both the Lambda Literary and the CLMP Firecracker Awards.
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