The End, a riotous, sex-stuffed novel by Torres, which takes Technicolor pleasure in detailing the deaths of five incorrigible old beach bums of the Bossa Nova generation.... Her five men, whom she kills off in reverse chronology, are ‘united by male allegiance, women, and the beach, in that order’.... With America undergoing a mass reckoning with male sexuality, a novel like this feels both taboo and gleeful, a guilty kind of reprieve.”
—Hermione Hoby, The New Yorker
“The intense but tenuous bonds of male friendship give shape and structure to this energetic, impressive debut from acclaimed Brazilian actress Torres. Set against the vivid backdrop of Copacabana, the episodic novel follows five contentious and devoted friends—Ciro, Silvio, Neto, Alvaro, and Ribeiro—from the hedonistic nights of their youth to the humbling days of old age. Beginning with the violent death of Alvaro, the group’s last surviving member, the story meticulously works it way back through the complicated lives of each friend, culminating with the operatic death of Ciro, who retains a spark of youth until his last moments. Torres paints a sharp, intimate portrait of male sexuality and psychology (including the experience of aging), illuminating the friends’ profound differences (such as between the decadent Silvio and the meeker Ribeiro) while never undermining the believability of their connection. As assured as the characterizations of the central characters are the investigations of the men and women who surround them, the wives who abide their exploits and the priests who speak at their funerals. The narration and momentum remain lively and sharp throughout.”
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“Set in Rio de Janeiro, this fine literary debut from one of Brazil’s most distinguished actors tells the stories of five men as they approach their inevitable (and in some cases premature) ends. By turns tragic and hilarious, the novel is about friendship, betrayal and excess, and about male fury against the ravages of old age.”
—Angel Gurría-Quintana, Financial Times
“The End is the perfect summer release. Torres creates an aging, male Carioca friend group that is a mess of cynicism, nostalgia, frustration, and a seemingly unending appetite for sex. This book is raunchy, sophisticated, and so wonderfully Brazilian. I devoured this book in one sitting. Parabens Fernanda!!!”
—Daniela Roger, Books & Books (Coral Gables, FL)
"The year of 2013 would have been worth it for Fernanda Torres' novel alone. How beautiful it is to see an authentic literary talent emerge so clearly.... In her debut The End, she goes beyond just being a good writer. Her tone is so well crafted."
“You think you see The End coming—or the ending coming—but Fernanda Torres has other plans for you on this journey. Torres presents five friends—fairly flawed, tragic clowns—and their views on life and those around them as they try to navigate their lives and deaths. This novel is a funny, smart, well conceived, and perfectly executed playful look at mortality.”
—Nick Buzanski, Book Culture (New York, NY)
“Famed actress Fernanda Torres’s debut novel, The End, is a brutally unflinching look at the lifelong friendships of five aging male friends and the women in their lives.... [Torres has an] agile hand at establishing voice, pacing, and tone. Hers is strong, economical prose.... The machismo of each character is impressively rendered.... The End is vivid and irascible as it confronts the reality of aging, regrets, and death.”
—Monica Carter, Foreword Reviews, 5-Heart Review
“Torres’ writing [has] flair and wit... [an] unforgiving portrait of men at their worst.”
In this harsh first novel by a Brazilian actress, five elderly men reflect on their friendships with each other and their exhaustive love lives.It gives nothing away to explain that all five—Álvaro, Sílvio, Ribeiro, Neto, Ciro—die; Torres structures her book around each man's dying narration. Walking home for the last time, in 2014, 85-year-old Álvaro is bitter, misogynistic, and highly critical of his already dead friends. Glad to be done with sex, he recalls the unpleasant half-baked orgy Sílvio held before leaving Rio years earlier. Each man will remember this orgy in a tellingly different way that highlights his character. Lying helpless on a sidewalk at age 66 in 2009, banker Sílvio admits the orgy was a phony farewell. He never really left Rio, merely transferred to a different bank branch to avoid his friends. If Álvaro is a cold fish, Sílvio is a crude, selfish sensualist. Dumping his wife, he carries on an obsessive, tawdry affair with a young bisexual woman who happens to be Ribeiro's girlfriend. After Sílvio's death, from Parkinson's combined with recreational drug use, his son runs an ad apologizing for Sílvio's years of bad behavior and inviting others to celebrate his death. Ribeiro and Neto are outliers. Rebeiro, who suffers a heart attack after taking Viagra at age 83, is the group's only bachelor but has always secretly loved Ciro's wife, Ruth. Half black, Neto has lived under pressures his friends would never understand. A decent man, he dies in 1992, one year after his wife of over 30 years. Everyone admires handsome, intelligent, passionate Ciro, but he commits an unforgivable act of cruelty against Ruth. When Álvaro asks if the fast-growing cancer that strikes 50-year-old Ciro in 1990 is God's punishment, Ciro implies that he hopes so. So will readers. The flair and wit of Torres' writing does not allay the unpleasant aftertaste left by this unforgiving portrait of men at their worst.