Rubem Fonseca

Rubem Fonseca (May 11, 1925 – April 15, 2020) was a Brazilian writer.[1][2]

Life and careerEdit

He was born in Juiz de Fora, in the state of Minas Gerais, but he 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 refused to give interviews and felt 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 claimed 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 Luiz Ruffato, have stated that Fonseca's writing has influenced their work.[3]

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]. One recurring character in Fonseca's books is the lawyer-detective Mandrake.[4]

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]

He died in Rio de Janeiro in April 2020 at the age of 94 just 26 days before his 95th birthday [6]


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 by Ellen Watson, Harper & Row, New York, 1986)
  • Bufo & Spallanzani (translation by Clifford E. Landers, Dutton, New York, 1990)
  • Vast Emotions and Imperfect Thoughts (translation by Clifford Landers, Ecco Press, New York, 1998)
  • The Taker and Other Stories (translation by Clifford E. Landers, Open Letter, New York, 2008)
  • Crimes of August (translation by Clifford E. Landers of Agosto, University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, Mass., 2014)


  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. ^ a b Tello Garrido, Romeo. Prólogo en Fonseca Rubem, Los mejores relatos. México: Alfaguara, 1998.
  4. ^ "Folha Online - Ilustrada - "Mandrake", de Rubem Fonseca, entra na lista dos mais vendidos - 15/08/2005". Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  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.
  6. ^ "Morre o escritor Rubem Fonseca aos 94 anos". GaúchaZH. April 15, 2020.

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