The book marks the English-language debut of Brazilian author João Gilberto Noll, considered one of Brazil's literary legends and ranked alongside leading Latin American writers like Cesar Aira and Mario Bellatin.
In a translation by Adam Morris, an unemployed poet finds himself thrown in jail after inexplicably raping his neighbor, but his time in prison is mysteriously cut short when he’s abruptly taken to a new home—a countryside manor where his every need seen to. All that’s required of him is to write poetry.
Written during Brazil’s transition from military dictatorship to democracy in the late 1980s—and capturing the disjointed feel of that rapidly changing world—Quiet Creature on the Corner is mysterious and abrupt, pivoting on choices that feel both arbitrary and inevitable.
The book has received some fantastic reviews, some of which we've pulled together here:
Publisher's Weekly writes that "readers will be delighted that his 1991 mid-career work has now been translated into English."
The Chicago Review of Books called Quiet Creature "as urgently relevant as any contemporary novel...[it] augurs a notable English-language career for João Gilberto Noll." It's "oddly accessible yet encourages multiple readings."
3:AM magazine objects to comparisons to David Lynch and Franz Kafka: "There is something else going on in Quiet Creature, something that locates its existential terror not in the apprehension of dream—or at least not exclusively—but rather in the intensification of the mundane, the cruelty that lurks beneath banal reality."
Electric Literature compares the narrator's detachment to Albert Camus's The Stranger.
Numéro Cinq magazine calls the book "an absorbing introduction to this esteemed Brazilian author."
Reading in Translation says "Quiet Creature on the Corner confounds our expectations of what literature should be by denying us the opportunity to see ourselves more clearly through a character, but it is that refusal which enriches the experience all the more."
Guernica magazine featured an interview with translator Adam Morris last month which touched on Noll’s place in Latin American letters, his influences, and the relevance of the novel in light of the current political upheaval in Brazil.
Read an excerpt of the book, or buy it alone or as part of our "East European Beach Read" Set (owing to Noll's Eastern European spirit, if not nationality), along with a short story collection from East German author Wolfgang Hilbig and novel by Czech modernist Richard Weiner.
Make the beach a slightly darker, more insidiously frightening place, just don't forget the sunscreen!