Join us as we celebrate the English translation of Brazilian author Beatriz Bracher's novel I Didn't Talk. Bracher will be joined by translator Adam Morris for a discussion about her work.
A professor prepares to retire—Gustavo is set to move from São Paulo to the countryside, but it isn’t the urban violence he’s fleeing: what he fears most is the violence of his memory. But as he sorts out his papers, the ghosts arrive in full force. He was arrested in 1970 with his brother-in-law Armando: both were viciously tortured. He was eventually released; Armando was killed. No one is certain that he didn’t turn traitor: I didn’t talk, he tells himself, yet guilt is his lifelong harvest. I Didn’t Talk pits everyone against the protagonist—especially his own brother. The torture never ends, despite his bones having healed and his teeth having been replaced. And to make matters worse, certain details from his shattered memory don’t quite add up… Beatriz Bracher depicts a life where the temperature is lower, there is no music, and much is out of view. I Didn’t Talk’s pariah’s-eye-view of the forgotten “small” victims powerfully bears witness to their “internal exile.” I didn’t talk, Gustavo tells himself; and as Bracher honors his endless pain, what burns this tour de force so indelibly in the reader’s mind is her intensely controlled voice.
Beatriz Bracher, born in São Paulo in 1961, grew up under the Brazilian military dictatorship. Her memories of that time intersect with the lives of people whose friends and lovers were tortured, exiled, and killed, as well as with those who did the killing. An editor, screenwriter, and the author of six books of fiction, Bracher has won three of Brazil’s most prestigious literary awards: the Clarice Lispector Prize, the Rio Prize, and the São Paulo Prize.
Adam Morris is a writer and translator based in California. He has translated novels by Hilda Hilst, João Gilberto Noll, and Beatriz Bracher. His book American Messiahs: False Prophets of a Damned Nation will be published by Liveright / W.W. Norton in March 2019.