The Book of Emotions

Overview

Isolating these moments in his memory and attempting to analyze them much like a lens, he envisions "a haiku stripped of rhetoric that captures only what is in front of the camera." Yet, deprived of his sight, the photographer now must reconstruct his experiences as a series of affective snapshots, a diary of his emotions as they were frozen on this or that day. The result, then, is not the description of a remembered image, but of the emotional memory the image evokes. João Almino here gives us a trenchant ...

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Overview

Isolating these moments in his memory and attempting to analyze them much like a lens, he envisions "a haiku stripped of rhetoric that captures only what is in front of the camera." Yet, deprived of his sight, the photographer now must reconstruct his experiences as a series of affective snapshots, a diary of his emotions as they were frozen on this or that day. The result, then, is not the description of a remembered image, but of the emotional memory the image evokes. João Almino here gives us a trenchant portrait of an artist trying to close the gap between objective vision and sentimental memory, leafing through a catalog of his accomplishments and failures in a violent, artificial, universal city, and trying to reassemble the puzzle that was his life.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Nearing the end of his life in the year 2022, a blind Brazilian photographer, Cadu, revisits his past in Almino's tale of memory and regret. Cadu lives alone, haunted by the yearning for all the women he's loved and lost. His only remaining friends are Mauricio, the son of his late wife, and Carolina, his goddaughter whose mother he wished to seduce. With Mauricio and Carolina's help, he decides to create The Book of Emotions, a photo journal of his "incomplete, sentimental memories from a period in which could see, and saw too much." Although he is blind, the photos of former friends, lovers, and enemies "reveal themselves in rich detail" in his mind, evoking powerful emotions from years past. The journal begins when his lover Joana leaves him for the wealthy politician Eduardo Kaufman. Cadu then moves to the capital city, Brasília, where he finds political corruption and chases a series of women, images of whom he captures for his exhibit of nude photographs and which epitomize his "instantaneous, fleeting and sometimes deceptive reality." Almino (The Five Seasons of Love) succeeds in capturing the essences of these photographs—loneliness and longing—through language, and readers will sympathize with the artist who never receives the love or respect he seeks and deserves. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Blind Brazilian photographer Canu reflects on his life and loves by assembling an unusual memoir, using a diary and photographs to recall events from 20 years earlier. Rejected by his lover, Joana, he takes a photographic assignment in Brasília. While there, he tries to mount a photographic exhibit that no one seems interested in and seeks revenge on the corrupt politician who has hired him and whom he blames for his breakup with Joana. Almost in spite of himself, he becomes romantically involved with a woman named Aida. This many-layered and impressionistic novel from novelist/diplomat Almino ("Brasília Quintet") gives only a slice of Canu's full, rich, and not always exemplary life, as some events and characters from the past are mentioned but not fully explained. Canu's struggles to make a narrative out of the remnants of his life and memories are intermingled with musings on memory, art, spirituality, sex, and love. VERDICT Not an easy read, but rewarding for the patient.—Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564786814
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 2/7/2012
  • Series: Brazilian Literature Series
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 566,197
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

João Almino is the author of five novels, of which The
Five Seasons of Love and The Book of
Emotions are available in English translation. He has taught at Berkeley,
Stanford, the Autonomous National University of Mexico, and the University ofBrasília.

Elizabeth Jackson is Visiting Assistant Professor of Portuguese at Wesleyan University. She is the translator of João Almino’s novels The Five Seasons of Love and The Book of Emotions, as well as co-translator of Patricia Galvao’s 1933 novel Industrial Park.

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