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v2.1 Reference

Crimes of August

A Novel

Rubem Fonseca's Crimes of August offers the first serious literary treatment of the cataclysmic events of August 1954, arguably the most turbulent month in Brazilian history. A rich novel, both culturally and historically, Crimes of August tells two stories simultaneously. The first is private, involving the well-delineated character of Alberto Mattos, a police officer. The other is public, focusing on events that begin with the attempted assassination of Carlos Lacerda, a demagogic journalist and political enemy of President Getúlio Vargas, and culminate in Vargas's suicide on August 24,1954. Throughout this suspenseful novel, deceptively couched as a thriller, Fonseca interweaves fact and fiction in a complex, provocative plot. At the same time, he re-creates the atmosphere of the 1950s, when Rio de Janeiro was Brazil's capital and the nexus of political intrigue and corruption.Mattos is assigned to solve the brutal murder of a wealthy entrepreneur in the aftermath of what appears to be a homosexual liaison. An educated and introspective man, and one of the few in his precinct not on the take from the bankers" of the illegal lottery, Mattos suffers from alienation and a bleeding ulcer. His investigation puts him on a dangerous collision course with the conspiracy to depose Vargas, the novel's other narrative thread. The two overlap at several points, coming to their tragic end with the aged politician's suicide and Mattos's downfall.

About the Authors

RUBEM FONSECA, winner of the Prémio Camões (2003) and the inaugural Prêmio Ibero-americano de Narrativa Manuel Rojas (2012), is Brazil's foremost living author. CLIFFORD E. LANDERS has translated fifteen novels from the Portuguese. He has previously translated into English Winning the Game and Other Stories by Rubem Fonseca.


"Fonseca's voice is rich with irony, subtle humor and intelligence."—Publishers Weekly

"The best thing in the work of Rubem Fonseca is not knowing where he's going to take us. Every time I start a book of his it's as if I answered a phone call in the middle of the night: 'Hi, it's me. You're not going to believe what's happening.' Well, maybe not at first, but soon I'm believing everything. His writing performs miracles, it's mysterious. Each of his books is not only a worthwhile journey: it's a journey in some way necessary."—Thomas Pynchon

"Fonseca . . . tells a broader story about Brazil."—Benjamin Lytal
Tagus Press
Brazilian Literature in Translation Series

9781933227580 : crimes-of-august-fonseca-landers
Paperback / softback
296 Pages
$19.95 USD

Other Titles by Rubem Fonseca

Winning the Game and Other Stories

Rubem Fonseca, translated by Clifford E. Landers
Mar 2013 - HFMAS
$19.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles by Clifford E. Landers

Winning the Game and Other Stories

Rubem Fonseca, translated by Clifford E. Landers
Mar 2013 - HFMAS
$19.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles from Brazilian Literature in Translation Series


Moacyr Scliar, translated by Malcolm McNee
Aug 2019 - University of Massachusetts Press
$14.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Unremembering Me

Luiz Ruffato, translated by Marguerite Itamar Harrison
Oct 2018 - HFMAS
$14.95 USD - Paperback / softback

The Only Happy Ending for a Love Story Is an Accident

J. P. Cuenca, translated by Elizabeth Lowe
Oct 2013 - HFMAS
$19.95 USD - Paperback / softback