Blood-drenched beard by Daniel Galera
Original title – Barba ensopada de sangue
Translator – Alison Entrekin
Source – review copy
“I cannot walk through the suburbs in the solitude of the night without thinking that the night pleases us because it suppresses idle details, just as our memory does.”
Jorge Luis Borges source here
Daniel Galera was on the recent Granta list of best Brazilian writers from last year .Born on Sao Paulo but grew up in the city of Porto Alegre the same city as Luís Fernando Veríssimo, comes from .Daniel Galera works as a writer and translator and is considered one of the best Brazilian writers at using the internet for his writing ,he found his own publishing house and also has contribute to numerous online publications .He has also won the Machado De Assis prize .
What’s that face ? asks his father .
It’s an old joke .He gives his usual answer with the barest hint of a smile .
The only one I’ve got
The first hint at the main characters face blindness condition .
Well Blood drenched beard is one of those books that reminds me why I love translation so much, a crime novel that breaks the mould and is more postmodern than crime .A man who is unnamed in the book is drawn back to the seaside town that his grandfather lived in ,after his own father commits suicide.His is accompanied by his fathers old dog .Now this man is trying to discover his families past ,but has a problem a rare condition that means he can’t remember people after meet them because he can’t remember faces .So he is forced to remember actions and places to remember people .SO what we see through his eyes is the world in the pieces he remembers as he tries to discover who killed his grandfather .The grandfather died in a blackout ,hence the title of the book the lights went up the grandfather was drenched in blood . Will he find the killer ?
Back then there wasn’t a police station in Garopaba ,says the officer .If there was any kind of inquiry,the files would be in Laguna .But I doubt it .That was a long time ago .I’m from here ,born and bred ,my parents and grandparents and great-grandparents are from here and I’ve never heard of him .People remember the ones who die .
He talks to the local policeman ,but is what he says the truth or a lie ?
Blood-drenched beard is a clever take on the quest novel the man returning home on a quest .Now if you take out the main thing that most crime novels have and that is the facial identification and expressions .So what we get is the smaller details how people move there gestures and how he sees these through her eyes . Add to that the setting the small coastal town of Garopaba a small town with its own past ,myths and surreal nature ,at times I was reminded of Marquez world .I’ve read Casares the Argentinian writers take on the crime novel and was reminded at times in this book of the way he wrote .A town with secrets and a family past unravelling makes this a real page turner .Do you have a favourite crime novel that isn’t a crime novel really ?