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Rubem Fonseca (born May 11, 1925) is a Brazilian writer.[1][2]

He was born in Juiz de Fora, in the state of Minas Gerais, but he has lived most of his life in Rio de Janeiro. In 1952, he started his career as a low-level cop and, later became a police commissioner, one of the highest ranks in the civil police of Brazil. Following the steps of American novelist Thomas Pynchon, a close friend of Fonseca, he refuses to give interviews and feels strongly about maintaining his privacy.[3]

His stories are dark and gritty, filled with violence and sexual content, and usually set in an urban environment. He claims a writer should have the courage to show what most people are afraid to say. His work is considered groundbreaking in Brazilian literature[by whom?], up until then mostly focused on rural settings and usually treating cities with less interest[dubious ]. Almost all Brazilian contemporary writers acknowledge Fonseca's importance[citation needed]. Authors from the rising generation of Brazilian writers, such as Patrícia Melo or Luis Ruffato, have stated that Fonseca's writing has influenced their work.[4]

He started his career by writing short stories, considered by some critics as his strongest literary creations. His first popular novel was A Grande Arte (High Art), but "Agosto" is usually considered his best work[citation needed].

In 2003, he won the Camões Prize, considered to be the most important award in the Portuguese language.

In 2012 he became the first recipient of Chile's Manuel Rojas Ibero-American Narrative Award.[5]



Brazilian editionsEdit

Novels and novellasEdit

  • O Caso Morel (1973)
  • A Grande Arte (1983)
  • Bufo & Spallanzani (1986)
  • Vastas Emoções e Pensamentos Imperfeitos (1988)
  • Agosto (1990)
  • O Selvagem da Ópera (1994)
  • Do Meio do Mundo Prostituto Só Amores Guardei ao Meu Charuto (1997, novella)
  • O doente Molière (2000, novella)
  • Diário de um Fescenino (2003)
  • Mandrake: A Bíblia e a Bengala (2005, novella)
  • O Seminarista (2009)
  • José (2011)

Short story collections and anthologiesEdit

  • Os Prisioneiros (1963)
  • A Coleira do Cão (1965)
  • Lúcia McCartney (1967)
  • Feliz Ano Novo (1975)
  • O Homem de Fevereiro ou Março (1973)
  • O Cobrador (1979)
  • Romance Negro e Outras Histórias (1992)
  • Contos Reunidos (1994)
  • O Buraco na Parede (1995)
  • Romance Negro, Feliz Ano Novo e Outras Histórias (1996)
  • Histórias de Amor (1997)
  • Confraria dos Espadas (1998)
  • Secreções, Excreções e Desatinos (2001)
  • Pequenas Criaturas (2002)
  • 64 Contos de Rubem Fonseca (2004)
  • Ela e Outras Mulheres (2006)
  • Axilas e Outras Histórias Indecorosas (2011)
  • Histórias Curtas (2015)

English translationsEdit

  • High Art (translation Ellen Watson. Harper & Row, New York, 1986)
  • Bufo & Spallanzani (translation Clifford E. Landers. Dutton, New York, 1990)
  • Vast Emotions and Imperfect Thoughts (translation Clifford Landers, Ecco Press Publisher, New York, 1998)
  • The Taker and Other Stories (translation Clifford E. Landers. Open Letter, New York, 2008)


  1. ^ Wilmington, Michael (October 30, 1991). "MOVIE REVIEW `Exposure' Settles for Less Than Tantalizing Potential". Los Angeles Times. p. 5. Retrieved 28 April 2011. There may be something unconsciously premonitory about the fact that the people who've made a movie out of Rubem Fonseca's fascinating Brazilian thriller ...
  2. ^ Polk, James (August 23, 1998). "Blame It on Rio". New York Times. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  3. ^ Tello Garrido, Romeo. Prólogo en Fonseca Rubem, Los mejores relatos. México: Alfaguara, 1998.
  4. ^ Tello Garrido, Romeo. Prólogo en Fonseca Rubem, Los mejores relatos. México: Alfaguara, 1998.
  5. ^ García, Javier (28 September 2012). "Fonseca, el policial más duro de Brasil, recibe el premio Manuel Rojas" [Fonseca, the Toughest Policeman in Brazil, Receives the Manuel Rojas Award]. La Tercera (in Spanish). Retrieved 3 September 2018.

Further readingEdit


  • Rubem Fonseca: Proibido e Consagrado / Deonísio da Silva., 1996
  • Os Crimes do Texto: Rubem Fonseca e a Ficção Contemporânea / Vera Follain de Figueiredo., 2003
  • Acercamientos a Rubem Fonseca / José Bru., 2003
  • No Fio do Texto: A Obra de Rubem Fonseca / Maria Antonieta Pereira., 1999
  • Roteiro Para um Narrador: Uma Leitura dos Contos de Rubem Fonseca / Ariovaldo José Vidal., 2000
  • O Realismo na Ficção de José Cardoso Pires e de Rubem Fonseca / Petar Petrov., 2000
  • Literatura e Consumo: O Caso Rubem Fonseca / Ana Cristina Coutinho Viegas., 2002
  • "O Mago Artificial", in O Estudante do Coração / Luis Carlos de Morais Junior, 2010

External linksEdit