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Posts from the ‘Bernardo Carvalho’ Category

Nine Nights

Nine Nights

Bernardo Carvalho’s novel Nine Nights presents us with alternating narratives concerning the suicide in 1939 of an American anthropologist Buell Quain.  The primary narrative is that of a young Brazilian novelist (not unlike Carvalho in some ways) as he researches and reconstructs the events that led up to Quain’s suicide deep in the Brazilian jungle.  The alternate narrative, presented in italics, consists of mysterious missives written by Manoel Perna, an engineer and acquaintance of Quain’s who knew him for the nine crucial nights that preceded the suicide.  Perna’s intended his oracular texts as a warning to future investigators of the difficulties they will encounter in pursuing answers to Quain’s death.  But they also double as warnings for the reader:

This is for you when you get here.  You have to be prepared.  Somebody has to warn you.  You are entering a place where truth and lies no longer have the meanings they had outside…The truth is lost among all the contradictions and absurdities…But before I go I am leaving this testimonial, for whenever you arrive to confront this absolute chaos. Read more