In this latest translated novel by one of Brazil's premiere fiction writers, a desperate man named Oséias decides to return to his hometown after twenty years away. He visits with family members and old friends, trying to assuage his deep loneliness and lasting sorrow over his sister's death at fifteen.
Sanches’s deft translation highlights the impoverished man and portrays a family broken apart by the suicide of Oséias’s sister, Lígia ... The delicate translation captures not just the ambivalence of the character, but the auditory and tactile senses of the text ... [Sanches's] prowess resonates especially through Ruffato’s constant use of staccato sentences, which detail the mundane and quotidian. The book is an anti-journey ... how can endlessly detailing tasks be so sublime? Ruffato portrays not only heartbreak, abuse, declining health, and suicide, but also nostalgia, warmth, and humor ... The reading experience, then, is also about exploring the anti-journey, rather than reveling in neat answers. The hypnotic lies in the ambivalence of the characters. The glimpses of different lives, where the reader is unable to fully immerse oneself, provides a gaze not only of a dynamic city, but of the many faces of family strife.
Ruffato subtly weaves in criticism and social issues in the narrative ... his straightforward, sometimes sad, sometimes brutally honest language also wraps you into a cocoon: you find yourself wandering the cobbled streets of an industrial Brazilian town, a place in a time that never returns. But there’s a disquiet and ruthless attentiveness hidden in the words. It’s not the umpteenth story about a man coming to terms with his inevitable end. He shows how defenseless we all are. Late Summer reflects on loneliness, existential angst, and our human ambivalences. Ruffato neatly categorizes the chaotic structure of a Brazilian man’s consciousness wrapped up in memories of the past. The inevitable structural changes in Cataguases and the influence of time has blurred Oséias memory, 'like a photograph that fades little by little until suddenly it’s only a series of whitish smudges without meaning.'
... a hypnotic translation by Julia Sanches ... The motif of silence, this ever-present ellipsis, becomes, in Ruffato’s hands, double-edged. In certain instances, he wields it to contrast the noisy complexity of adulthood/modernity with a simpler, sepia-tinged time, frequently resurrected by Oséias in passages that bleed together past and present ... Nevertheless, silence also marks the uncomfortable present, distancing the characters from one another ... While the other characters, especially the women, often come off flat—the author’s zeal to show the larger societal forces at work transforms them into types—we learn that João Lúcio has lovingly maintained the family crypt, that he hosts his employees at his country estate on weekends, that he may not know what to say to Oséias, but he welcomes him into his fancy, modern home ... It’s in this propulsive rhythm where Sanches’ translation most shines, handling the staccato reiteration of subject-verb-object with aplomb, and buoying the author’s stylistic experimentation with a few tricks up English’s sleeve ... What makes Ruffato’s oeuvre so relatable to American readers is precisely that face of Brazil we so rarely glimpse from the outside: its multiculturalism, its messy modernity and glaring inequities, the way collectively it, too, chooses silence rather than confront its own shortcomings—until it’s too late.