Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: January 21, 2020
by Graciliano Ramos, introduction by Sarah Ann Wells, translated from the Portuguese by Padma Viswanathan
An NYRB Classics OriginalIn 1941, a national literary poll in Brazil named Graciliano Ramos one of the country’s ten greatest novelists—one of only four living authors on the list. His reputation has only increased there in the sixty years since his death. Brazilian readers fight over which of his novels is their favorite. Now São Bernardo, his second-to-last novel, has been freshly translated for North American readers. This gritty, dryly funny book tells the story of Paulo Honório, a field hand who learns to read and write in jail, emerging with the ambition of buying and restoring to greatness the now-decrepit property where he was once a day laborer. São Bernardo, named for his ranch, is the memoir of his rise and fall, written in his own rough-hewn voice. Flavored with subtle ironies and rich local idioms, São Bernardo will appeal to readers of William Faulkner and Juan Rulfo, anyone who loves a tragicomic story of a striving outsider and self-made man, ruthless and tender in turns.
If we were to take stock of Brazilian writers from the first half of the twentieth century—from among those writers who produced the most relevant parts of their oeuvre in the first half of the twentieth century—and ask which writer has had the greatest impact and influence on the way Brazilian writers write today, I have no doubt that the name of Graciliano Ramos would make the top of the list.
—Paulo Scott, Asymptote