By João Almino
Translated by Elizabeth Lowe
After a quarrel, an ageing lawyer leaves his wife and travels from Brasília to the dry, lawless backlands of Brazil’s northeastern plateau, where he grew up. He has vague plans to start a new life, to buy a ranch and farm cotton, but unresolved childhood obsessions, fantasies, traumas resurface, threatening to overwhelm his very sense of identity. Consumed with thoughts of revenge against the man who murdered his father when he was only two, he discovers that he may in fact have been the lovechild of his rich godfather—the man who ordered the hit—and may therefore be the half-brother of the girl for whom he harbored an adolescent sexual fixation. In this masterful novel rich in local color, João Almino creates a complex, damaged narrator inexorably dragged down into the vortex of his own treacherous memories.
Brazilian novelist, critic, and diplomat João Almino is the author of three volumes of essays and five of philosophy, in addition to the five novels of his Brasilia Quintet, of which Dalkey has published the last two, The Book of Emotions and Free City. He has taught at Berkeley, Stanford, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the University of Brasilia, and the University of Chicago. Among other awards, Almino won the 2003 Casa de las Américas Award for The Five Seasons of Love and the 2011 Prêmio Passo Fundo Zaffari and Bourbon de Literatura for Free City. In 2017, he was elected to the Brazilian Academy of Letters. The Last Twist of the Knife is his seventh novel.
Elizabeth Lowe translates Brazilian and Lusophone writers, including Clarice Lispector, Rubem Fonseca, Nélida Piñon, Teolinda Gersão, and Antônio Lobo Antunes. She was recognized by the Brazilian Academy of Letters for her re-translation of Euclides da Cunha's classic novel Backlands: The Canudos Campaign. She is a National Endowment for the Arts Literary Translation Fellow, 2020-21, and she won a Fulbright Scholar award for teaching and research in Brazil in 2021. Lowe is a faculty member in the New York University M.S. in Translation and Interpreting program.