Nominated by:

Biblioteca Demonstrativa de Brasília, Brazil

Fundacao Biblioteca Nacional, Brazil

Publisher of nominated edition:

Atlantic Books, UK

Spilt Milk

Chico Buarque      

Translated from the original Portuguese by Alison Entrekin

2014 Longlist

Centenarian Eulalio Assumpcao has reached the end of his long life. From his modest bed in a Rio public hospital, as his mind falters, he grandly recounts his past to passing nurses, his visiting daughter and the whitewashed ceiling. His eccentric stories are seemingly nothing more than the ramblings of a dying man, yet as he overlaps each confused memory, they begin to coalesce into a brilliant and bitter eulogy for himself and for Brazil.

Charting his own fall from aristocracy, Eulalio’s feverish monologue sprawls across the last century, from his empire-building ancestors to his drug-dealing great-great grandson. He confronts his senator father who squandered the family fortune on women and cocaine, and recalls the imperious mother who he always disappointed; but as he drifts through each shifting episode, he never stops searching for Matilde, the girl with cinnamon skin, who danced her way into his heart and then broke it when she disappeared.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Born 1944 in Rio de Janeiro, Chico Buarque, is a singer, guitarist, composer, dramatist, writer and poet. Although he first made his name as a musician, in 1968 Buarque was imprisoned by the Brazilian dictatorship for writing and composing the existential play Roda Viva. During the 1970s and 1980s, he collaborated with other atists in protest against the dictatorship. He is the author of numerous novels; in 2010 Spilt Milk won both of Brazil’s leading literary prizes, the Prêmio Jabuti and the Prêmio Portugal Telecom. He lives in Rio de Janeiro.

Librarian’s Comments

Recipient of major literary awards in Brazil and Portugal, Spilt Milk has been praised not only by José Saramago, the Portugueses Nobel laureate, but also by young writers like Jonathan Franzen and Nicole Krauss, impressed by Mr. Buarque’s gift for narrative and the telling detail.

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