The Good-Bye Angel


The Good-Bye Angel
Ignacio de Loyola Brandão, translated by Clifford E Landers
2011, Dalkey Archive Press
290 pages

AREALVA is Brazil, or more realistically, the world: a huge, unforgiving coincidence of complex individuals gathered in one place that we call a city, seething and stabbing. In the tyranny that results, there are no heroes, only victims – and these are Brandão’s favourite characters anyway. The city is like a big cat, simply unable to control its killer instinct and the overwhelming urge to toy with its pathetic prey before it consumes them. The Good-Bye Angel traces this tyranny with a panoramic and characteristically muscular examination of obsession, hypocrisy and loneliness. The hook, fittingly, is a murder – but it often is. Brandão’s latest noir is a journey into Arealva’s recesses, and the reader will not emerge unscathed. The fast pulp style of the folhetim, its words and phrases loaded with urban tension and anticipation nudges us uneasily towards the edge of even the most comfortable armchair. Some of the annotations are a distraction, and the translator Clifford Landers often employs apostrophes to enhance fluidity when the talky, slangy approach would in fact gain greater impact from crisper, more detached ballistics. But it’s still a good job, and keeps Brandão’s cutting edge razor sharp. –EC

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