Geovani Martins at the March Reading Meeting | Books

After the success of the short story book The Sun in the Headwhich was released in Portugal in 2019 by Companhia das Letras, the Brazilian writer Geovani Martins, who has always heard that short story books do not sell and that with this first work of his, at the age of 31, he has been translated into more than ten countries (USA, England , France, Germany, Italy, among others), started writing his first novel.

called it Appian way, the name of one of the busiest streets in Rocinha, in Rio de Janeiro, and in it we follow the daily lives of five boys who live in that community and how their lives were changed with the arrival of the Pacifying Police Unit (UPP) that was installed in that community in 2011, before Brazil hosted the World Cup (in 2014) and the Olympic Games (in 2016). The UPP project, part of the city’s security policy, intended to reduce violence linked to drug trafficking in the favelas by installing police and military forces. Geovani Martins lived in Rocinha at the time.

The novel will be discussed at the Reading Meeting, on March 14, at 10 pm in Lisbon (7 pm in Brasília), on the Zoom platform, with the writer from Rio de Janeiro as a guest. You can access this section of the PÚBLICO reading club and the Brazilian newspaper Leaf of St. Paul through this link or with the insertion in the Zoom of the ID from the meeting 820 7497 2849 and access password 538972. The session is open to all people who want to participate, there is a dialogue between the readers and the guest.

The book, which last year received the São Paulo Association of Arts Critics (APCA) Award for best novel, is about the war on drugs and what went wrong in that fight. The work consists of chapters that are presented to us as daily reports (each chapter is a date). It starts on July 27, 2011 and ends on October 26, 2013.

It accompanies brothers Washington and Wesley, in their precarious jobs, in their daily struggle and in their relationship with drugs. It shows us the expectations of their mother, Dona Marli, who raised them alone and always insisted on teaching her children “the importance of having a clean name in the market”. And he also tells us the aspirations of the group of five friends, which also includes Douglas (who wants to be a tattoo artist), Murilo (who is a soldier) and Biel (the only one in the narrative identified by the narrator as white and who therefore moves more at ease in other areas of Rio).

“On Via Appia, there wasn’t even anyone at the motorcycle stand. It was strange, even at rush hour at least half a dozen are clocking in there. (…) Everything seemed too strange, when suddenly he saw a group of police, all Civil Police, coming out of Via Roma. Then he could see several others coming from other corners. With their black shirts and pants and that certainty they have that no drug dealer is going to try to trick them. It even gave me chills”, reads in Appian way which was published in Brazil last year and arrived this month in Portuguese bookstores also in an edition of Companhia das Letras.

The Reading Meeting brings together Portuguese-speaking readers once a month for over two years and discusses novels, essays, memoirs, travel literature and works of literary journalism in the presence of a guest writer or expert. It is moderated by journalist Isabel Coutinho, responsible for the PÚBLICO website dedicated to books, Leias, and by the journalist from Folha de S. Paulo Eduardo Sombinipresenter of Ilustríssima Conversa, a podcast of non-fiction books.

The Meeting of Readings is available as a podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud or other podcast apps.

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