Nominated by:

Biblioteca Demonstrativa Maria da Conceição Moreira Salles, Brasilia, Brazil

Publisher of nominated edition:

Harvill Secker, UK

A Poison Apple

Michel Laub      

Translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn

An entrancing novel of loss and regret, from the prizewinning Brazilian novelist Michel Laub. In this sinuous meditation on passion, youth and guilt, a man looks back over twenty years to his relationship with his first love, Valeria, and its tragic climax.. They both had tickets to Nirvana in 1993, the only gig the band ever played in Brazil. But he was on military service and failed to join her. She was there with his best friend instead. Consumed by insecurities and tricks of memory, he continues to feel, two decades later, that one fateful night has defined his entire adult life. Entwining this most personal story with seminal events of the 1990s, A Poison Apple circles around and back to some of the biggest questions: What is a life worth? What does it mean to really commit to living? And can we ever break free of the past? Successor to his prizewinning Diary of the Fall, this is a beautiful and haunting novel that shows Michel Laub at his mesmeric best.

About the author

Michel Laub  was born in Porto Alegre and currently lives in Sao Paulo. He is a writer and journalist, and was named one of Granta’s twenty Best of Young Brazilian Novelists. Diary of the Fall, which received the Brasilia Award, was his first novel to appear in English. It won the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prize 2015 and was shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award 2016.

Librarian’s comments:

Master in the art of memoirist fiction, in A Poison Apple, Laub captivates us in a work in which nothing is excessive in dealing with big human issues, such as, what is a life worth?. Using a language that combines dryness and lyricism, irony and emotion, everything matters in this second book, which like the previous excellent Diary of the Fall, shortlisted for the 2016  International Dublin Literary Award, guarantees a reading of exceptional literary quality. A Poison Apple has granted to this author the most important literary prizes in Portuguese.

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