Nominated by:

Biblioteca Demonstrativa Maria da Conceição Moreira Salles

Fundação Biblioteca Nacional, Brasilia, Brazil

Publisher of nominated edition:

Latin American Bureau, UK

K

Bernardo Kucinski      

Translated from the original Portuguese by Sue Branford

2015 Shortlist

Judges’ Comments

Bernando Kucinski tells the story of a disappearance–that of the daughter of K, the novel’s main character. K lives in Sao Paulo at the time of the Brazilian dictatorship, in that period in history when dictatorships in several Latin American countries were covered up or even supported by the U.S. government. The novel is a powerful thriller, the story of a father on a desperate search for his daughter, well aware that, given the times, any unexplained absence could be for good. K resorts to all his contacts, analyzes the reasons that the military forces may have had for kidnapping his daughter, and conspires in Yiddish with his colleagues from the Jewish community as Bernardo Kucinski draws us closer to the end, to that point.

About the Book

A remarkable novel written by the Brazilian journalist Bernardo Kucinski. K is the story of a father who searches desperately for his daughter, ‘disappeared’ during the military dictatorship in Brazil. The father is himself a refugee from Poland in the 1930s. He is racked by feelings of guilt—that because he was immersed in his Yiddish writing and scholarship, he did not really know his daughter or the danger that threatened her.

The novel is based on a true story – the disappearance of Kucinski’s younger sister in 1973. As the author says, ‘Everything in this book is invented but almost everything happened’.
The first Brazilian edition sold out in a few weeks, and the novel has been shortlisted for literary awards in Brazil and Portugal.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Bernardo Kucinski, a Brazilian journalist and university teacher, is the author of several books published in Brazil and abroad, including The Debt Squads – the US, the Banks and Latin America (Zed Books, 1988) and Politics Transformed: Lula and the Workers’ Party in Brazil (Latin America Bureau, 2003).

Librarian’s Comments

Readers will come away overwhelmed by this powerful work of literature as we did, through the reading and discussing of a remarkable book written in sparse language hovering between memoir and novel, a compelling tale almost impossible to put down. One of the best books the library reading team read lately.

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