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The Shape of Bones (Hardcover)

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By Daniel Galera, Alison Entrekin (Translator)
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Staff Reviews

This vivid and moving coming of age tale is told in narratives alternating between a teen-aged Hermano, and the adult Hermano, as the latter takes a spur-of-the-moment detour from a road trip (and his life) to visit the town where he spent his youth. There, familiar surroundings trigger a flood of memories, both tender and violent, and we are placed smack-dab in the middle of the struggles of both the child to fight peer pressure during angst-ridden teenage years, and the man to come to terms with regret and deep-seeded guilt over decisions made as a child. This is a bittersweet meditation and powerful reflection on the ways in which some of our earliest of decisions haunt us throughout life. It is one man’s story of facing the past and making amends as best he can. We can’t undo the past, but we can take steps to atone, just as our bones can be broken and reset and healed. We go forward, scars and all, but we go forward.

— From Jeanne's Picks


"A book of visceral and tender beauty whose echoes persist long after the final page."
--David Mitchell, author of The Bone Clocks

A coming of age tale of brutal beauty and disarming tenderness from one of Brazil's most exciting young novelists, an author writing in the footsteps of "Roberto Bolano, Jim Harrison, the Coen brothers and...Denis Johnson" (The New York Times)

A young man wakes up at dawn to drive to the Andes, to climb the Cerro Bonete--a mountain untouched by ice axes and climbers, one of the planet's final mountains to be conquered--as an act of heroic bravado, or foolishness. But instead, he finds himself dragged, by the undertow of memory, to Esplanada, the neighborhood he grew up in, to the brotherhood of his old friends, and to the clearing in the woods where he witnessed an act that has run like a scar through the rest of his life.

Back in Esplanada, the young man revisits his initiation into adulthood and recalls his boyhood friends who formed a strange and volatile pack. Together they play video games, get drunk around bonfires, pick fights, and goad each other into bike races where the winner is the boy who has the most spectacular crash. Caught between the threat of not being man enough, the desire to please his friends, and the intoxicating contact-high of danger, the boy finds himself following the rules of the pack even as the risks mount. And in a moment that reverberates and repeats itself in new ways in his adulthood, his fantasies of who he is and what it means to be a man come crashing down, and life asserts itself as an endless rehearsal for a heroic moment that may never arrive.

From one of Brazil's most dazzling writers, The Shape of Bones is an exhilarating story of mythic power. Daniel Galera has written a pulse-racing novel with the otherworldly wisdom of a parable.

About the Author

Daniel Galera is a Brazilian writer and translator. He was born in Sao Paulo, but lives in Porto Alegre, where he has spent most of his life. He has published five novels in Brazil to great acclaim, including Blood-Drenched Beard, which was awarded the 2013 Sao Paulo Literature Prize. In 2013 Granta named Galera one of the Best Young Brazilian Novelists. He has translated the work of Zadie Smith, John Cheever, and David Mitchell into Portuguese. He is translated in English by Alison Entrekin. Alison Entrekin translates Brazilian literature. Her works include Blood-Drenched Beard by Daniel Galera; City of God by Paulo Lins; The Eternal Son by Cristovao Tezza, shortlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; Near to the Wild Heart by Clarice Lispector, shortlisted for the PEN America Translation Prize; and Budapest by Chico Buarque, shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781594205484
ISBN-10: 1594205485
Publisher: Penguin Press
Publication Date: August 15th, 2017
Pages: 240
Language: English