I Didn't Talk

New Directions. Jul. 2018. 160p. tr. from Portuguese by Adam Morris. ISBN 9780811227360. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9780811227377. LITERARY
A major award-winning author in Brazil appearing in English for the first time, Bracher grew up under the military dictatorship and here depicts how invidiously it bent people's lives. Gustavo, a professor about to retire to the countryside, was arrested in 1970 with brother-in-law Armando; both were horribly tortured, but only Gustavo was released. Everyone assumes that he talked, thus condemning Armando to death, but while Gustavo maintains his innocence, he is burdened with guilt and the sorrow of having lost both a close friend and his own wife, who died in Paris during his imprisonment. Interestingly, Bracher doesn't focus on the prison experience, instead showing Gustavo working through his overall memories. As he contemplates his professional papers and an autobiographical manuscript by brother José that feels subtly inaccurate, Bracher effectively reveals how Gustavo both dodged and absorbed painful suspicions about his past.
VERDICT An arresting work, told in stringently beautiful prose; for all smart sophisticated readers.
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