By Sofia Jesus
Have you ever felt an urge — a sudden hunger, a call – to leave everything you’re doing to go start reading a specific book? I did, right after I heard young Brazilian writer Carol Rodrigues read a passage from her first book Sem Vista Para o Mar (Without a sea view, in English), published in Portuguese in 2014.
“He does not exist and suddenly he does,” she read out loud to the audience in a session of The Script Road — Macau Literary Festival.
The sentence marks the beginning of Onde acaba o mapa (Where the map ends, in English), the first of 21 (really) short stories gathered in Ms Rodrigues’s book.
I don’t know if my hunger for this tiny yellow-covered book came more from the beautiful musicality of her poetic prose (a type of writing I’m passionate about, but do not often have the privilege to come across); from the curiosity about the story of this young boy who “went down the river that looks like the sea” to runaway from something I did not yet know what it was; or from what the author briefly said of her own book. Most probably, it was a mix of all three.
Ms Rodrigues told the audience at the Old Court Building she was inspired by the figure of the “camioneiro” (truck driver, in English), who she considers to be a “very Brazilian” character, always on the road, crossing the entire country, with lots of stories to share.
She also said she bought a road map to build the book. She wanted to look for spots that inspired her for their geographic, more remote position, as she is deeply attracted by the theme of a “deep and unknown” Brazil.
Her book is a collection of “tales of escape”. And those stories do make you travel to that deeper Brazil, in a very cinematographic way.
I won’t tell you about the plots, though, as a part of what makes this book delicious is the writer’s unique way of telling a story, often taking the reader by surprise; sometimes intertwining clues from one story to another.
Ms Rodrigues’s striking and original writing style — challenging punctuation, for instance — appeared to me as a beautiful work of art. Her stories are poems, period.
Born in 1985, Ms Rodrigues has already received two important literary awards in Brazil for Sem Vista Para o Mar, writer Marcelino Freire said at the literary festival’s session.
Ms Rodrigues told the audience at The Script Road she tried engaging in other art forms before becoming a writer. All I can say, as a reader who’s just discovered her work, is that I’m happy she was terrible at ballet.
Sem Vista Para o Mar