“Symphony in White” (Texas Tech University Press) by Adriana Lisboa has been published in English, translated from the Portuguese by Sarah Green, a translator and interpreter based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
This fascinating novel (Sinfonia em branco) was awarded the José Saramago Prize in 2003 when it was published in Portuguese. Lisboa, born in Rio de Janeiro, holds degrees in music and literature and has worked as a flautist, Brazilian Jazz singer, and music teacher. She has published nine books, including four novels and a collection of short stories. Her books have been published in France, Italy, Sweden, and Mexico, among other countries, and she has translated into Portuguese such authors as Cormac McCarthy and Marilynne Robinson. She divides her time between Rio and Colorado.
According to the publisher, “Symphony in White” (Sinfonia em branco) has amassed a large catalog of praises, including:
“A catching plot, elegant writing . . . Brazilian author Adriana Lisboa puts her signature on the most fascinating book of the season. Not to be missed.” —Olivia de Lamberterie, Elle magazine, France.
Sinfonia em Branco is the proof of an excellent writer . . . and a vital sign of life indicating the very latest in Brazilian literature awaiting our discovery.” —José Eduardo Agualusa, author of The Book of Chameleons
“A poignant tour de force on human interactions.” —Marguerite Itamar Harrison, Smith College.
“A writer for the future . . . an author for now and for later.” —José Saramago, 1998 Nobel Laureate in Literature.
In its promotion background for the novel, the publisher writes that “In a dramatic and powerful work of great beauty and harmony, Lisboa reveals the abysses of the human soul within a framework as delicate as a butterfly’s flight.”
The novel, as summarized by the publisher: “The two daughters of Afonso Olímpio and Otacília raised in rural Brazil in the 1960s and educated in teeming Rio de Janeiro in the 1970s form the counterpoint and central theme linking four generations: the pliant, troubled Clarice and the lovely, strong-willed Maria Inês.
“As other voices join in—those of the men they have married and the ones they have loved; the artist manqué Tomás; villagers and childhood friends; Great-Aunt Berenice in Rio; Eduarda, Maria Inês’s eighteen-year-old daughter—the cool, white calm of the sisters’ universe dissolves in a swirl of dark secrets. The family’s silences echo the unspoken atrocities of the military dictatorship holding sway in their country. But after the death of their mother forces Clarice and Maria Inês to face their shared past, an old score is settled.”
EXAMINER’S BEST: How to write your 1st novel NM Fiction Awards Thomas Pynchon
Carlos Fuentes José Saramago Roberto Bolaño John Hawkes