Nominated by:

Lisbon Central Library, Portugal

Publisher of nominated edition:

Dalkey Archive Press, USA

Free City

João Almino      

Translated from the Portuguese by Rhett McNeil

2015 Longlist

Free City is master storyteller João Almino’s third novel to focus on the city of Brasília in the social swirl of its early years, when contractors, corporate profiteers, idealists, politicians, mystical sects, and even celebrities mingled—Aldous Huxley, Fidel Castro, Andre Malraux, John Dos Passos, Elizabeth Bishop, and many others. Putting past and present into direct conflict, the story takes the form of a blog, even incorporating comments from other bloggers, each with their vested interests, each with new reasons for spinning fictions of their own.

Free City is brilliant. Brasilia was always a mystery to me when hearing about it growing up and now it is much less so and yet in a way beset with new mysteries. João Almino has put the city on the literary map, and in his Borgesian/anthropological/passionate way.” -Lorrie Moore, author of A Gate at the Stairs.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Brazilian novelist and diplomat João Almino has written three volumes of essays and five of philosophy in addition to his five novels Brasilia Quintet, of which Dalkey has published the last two, The Book of Emotions and Free City.  He has taught at Berkeley, Stanford, UNAM, the University of Brasilia, and the University of Chicago.  Among other awards, Almino won the 2003 Casa de las Américas Award for The Five Seasons of Love and the 2011 Prêmio Passo Fundo Zaffari & Bourbon de Literatura for Free City.

About the Translator

Rhett McNeil has translated work by António Lobo Antunes, Gonçalo M. Tavares, A. G. Porta, and Machado de Assis, all for Dalkey Archive Press.

Librarian’s Comments

João Almino is a master storyteller and one of the leading Portuguese authors. Free City is rich narrative, both real and symbolic.

Related Entries