The bracing debut novel from renowned Brazilian film star Fernanda Torres that tells the story of five aging male friends reflecting on their days of hedonism in Rio's Copacabana, and the hilariously grim realities of getting old.
The End centers on five friends in Rio de Janeiro who, nearing the end of their lives, are left with memories-of parties, marriages, divorces, fixations, inhibitions, bad decisions-and the physical indignities of aging. Alvaro lives alone and spends his time going from doctor to doctor and bemoaning the evils of his ex-wife. Silvio is a junkie who can't give up the excesses of sex and drugs even in his old age. Ribeiro is an athletic beach bum enjoying a prolonged sex life thanks to Viagra. Neto is the square member of the group, a faithful husband until his last days. And Ciro is the Don Juan envied by all-but the first to die, struck down by cancer. For all of them, successful careers, personal revelations, and Zen serenity are out of the question, blocked by a seemingly insurmountable wall of frustrations. Orbiting around them are a priest questioning his vocation and a cast of complicated women, neglected and embattled by these self-involved men.
Edgy and wise, this tragicomic debut delves into taboo subjects-death, infidelity, impotence, the difficulties of marriage-with unsentimental honesty, and brings Rio and these characters to life in full color.
About the Author
Fernanda Torres was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1965. She is an actress and writer. She has enjoyed a successful career in the theatre, cinema and on television for thirty-five years and has received many awards, including Best Actress at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival. She is a columnist for the newspaper Folha de São Paulo and the magazine Veja-Rio and contributes to the magazine Piauí. The End is her first novel.
About the Translator
Alison Entrekin has translated a number of works by Brazilian and Portuguese authors, including Clarice Lispector, Paulo Lins, and Chico Buarque.
"The End, a riotous, sex-stuffed novel by Torres, which takes Technicolor pleasure in detailing the deaths of five incorrigible old beach bums of the Bossa Nova generation.... Her five men, whom she kills off in reverse chronology, are `united by male allegiance, women, and the beach, in that order'.... With America undergoing a mass reckoning with male sexuality, a novel like this feels both taboo and gleeful, a guilty kind of reprieve."
-Hermione Hoby, The New Yorker
"The intense but tenuous bonds of male friendship give shape and structure to this energetic, impressive debut from acclaimed Brazilian actress Torres. Set against the vivid backdrop of Copacabana, the episodic novel follows five contentious and devoted friends-Ciro, Silvio, Neto, Alvaro, and Ribeiro-from the hedonistic nights of their youth to the humbling days of old age. Beginning with the violent death of Alvaro, the group's last surviving member, the story meticulously works it way back through the complicated lives of each friend, culminating with the operatic death of Ciro, who retains a spark of youth until his last moments. Torres paints a sharp, intimate portrait of male sexuality and psychology (including the experience of aging), illuminating the friends' profound differences (such as between the decadent Silvio and the meeker Ribeiro) while never undermining the believability of their connection. As assured as the characterizations of the central characters are the investigations of the men and women who surround them, the wives who abide their exploits and the priests who speak at their funerals. The narration and momentum remain lively and sharp throughout."
-Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Set in Rio de Janeiro, this fine literary debut from one of Brazil's most distinguished actors tells the stories of five men as they approach their inevitable (and in some cases premature) ends. By turns tragic and hilarious, the novel is about friendship, betrayal and excess, and about male fury against the ravages of old age."
-Angel Gurria-Quintana, Financial Times
"The End is the perfect summer release. Torres creates an aging, male Carioca friend group that is a mess of cynicism, nostalgia, frustration, and a seemingly unending appetite for sex. This book is raunchy, sophisticated, and so wonderfully Brazilian. I devoured this book in one sitting. Parabens Fernanda!!!"
-Daniela Roger, Books & Books (Coral Gables, FL)
"The year of 2013 would have been worth it for Fernanda Torres' novel alone. How beautiful it is to see an authentic literary talent emerge so clearly.... In her debut The End, she goes beyond just being a good writer. Her tone is so well crafted."
"You think you see The End coming-or the ending coming-but Fernanda Torres has other plans for you on this journey. Torres presents five friends-fairly flawed, tragic clowns-and their views on life and those around them as they try to navigate their lives and deaths. This novel is a funny, smart, well conceived, and perfectly executed playful look at mortality."
-Nick Buzanski, Book Culture (New York, NY)
"Famed actress Fernanda Torres's debut novel, The End, is a brutally unflinching look at the lifelong friendships of five aging male friends and the women in their lives.... [Torres has an] agile hand at establishing voice, pacing, and tone. Hers is strong, economical prose.... The machismo of each character is impressively rendered.... The End is vivid and irascible as it confronts the reality of aging, regrets, and death."
-Monica Carter, Foreword Reviews, 5-Heart Review
"Torres' writing [has] flair and wit... [an] unforgiving portrait of men at their worst."