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JO?O ANTONIO

"Different times, different writers. Take the case of Rio de Janeiro, an important hotbed of national fiction. To begin with, the unsurpassable master Manuel Antônio de Almeida, with his unique and singular novels, in which the lives of the people of the former capital develop into exuberant personalities full of zest, wit and truthfulness. Then, Machado de Assis, almost born in the slave quarters and anxious to climb the social ladder, producing cameo portraits of the rising bourgeoisie, of which he was both critic and admirer. Next came the abusive and angry Lima Barreto, a suburban dweller who held down ill-paid jobs on newspapers, a bohemian, a drunkard, in and out of the madhouse, a "maximalist" as he liked to describe himself - the opposite of Machado de Assis. In the thirties, Marques Rebelo, the prototype of the "petit bourgeois", with his mild prose and precise attention to detail, talking about people before the war and the subsequent explosion of everything from thought into action. And now we have João Antônio, from Rio and from Brazil, in a time when violence prevails, when distances have diminished geographically but have increased between human beings, when sex as well as sentiments have become permissive, when everything is challenged and even the strongest ideologies are shattered by debate that liberates them from their dungeon. A time of upheaval such as this requires a writer who is not only vigorous and determined but one who is also able to reap and nurture the last atoms of tenderness, one who is able to re-establish a humanistic approach. Which is what João Antônio has been doing through his books, which explains the success he enjoys with an avid public that increases by the day.
"It is no mere coincidence that Dedo-Duro is dedicated to Afonso Henriques de Lima Barreto. There is great similarity between these two writers, as in the prose of both authors, one finds the gnashing of teeth, repressed cries, dramatic emotions, women and men’s lives that are never carefree, twisted lives, scrabbled tooth and nail amid hardship, contemporary lives in this unfair and senseless world. A life that is often dirty, a literature that does not bother with careful, well-rounded phrases or highfalutin words. João Antônio works with life’s garbage, and builds beauty and poetry from the refuse. In addition to his talent and experience this writer brings the love, indeed the passion he feels for the people featured in his admirable books.

(Preface by Jorge Amado to the book Dedo-Duro - 'The Grass')