© Claudio di Lucia
Patrícia Melo was born in 1962 and is a highly regarded novelist, playwright and scriptwriter. She has been awarded a number of internationally renowned prizes, including the Jabuti Prize, the Prix Fémina for the best foreign novel, the German LiBeraturpreis 2013 and the German Crime Award 2014, and she was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and Time Magazine included her among the Fifty Latin American Leaders of the New Millenium.
In the Bible, Gog Magog stands for the enemy of the chosen people, in the revelations of St John, even for the Antichrist. In Patrícia Melo's novel the name stands for the monster in each one of us. The narrator of this domestic drama with apocalyptic dimensions is an ordinary citizen, fifty-four years old, a biology teacher at an evening school, and living with his wife Marta in São Paulo. His profession bores him, his marriage has become routine. Only the new neighbour Ygor stirs his blood: because he makes so much noise, he hates him with all his heart and even wishes him dead.
One day, by chance, he gets the keys to Ygor's apartment. He enjoys the feeling of power and scrambles around until his neighbour, whom he calls Mister Upsilon, returns unexpectedly. Mister Upsilon falls and, in the fighting that ensues, dies. The narrator now has a problem: To hide the business about the key, he has to make the corpse disappear. But this is not so easy. He dismembers it and drives out with the luggage compartment of his car full of body parts, but where there was previously open country there are now family homes, and finally he returns to his apartment with the plastic bags. For a few days he sits there with the bags until the police come and pick him up. Here his life takes an unexpected turn: prison is like a cure for him, he finds new meaning in life by learning to do useful things like building water cocks. When the court finds him guilty, the public takes interest, and along with the Sunday visits of his ex-wife, a new female admirer starts visiting him.
With her frenetic rhythm, her acidic language, ironic and full of humour, Patrícia Melo penetrates the mind of a man who is stunned by the world around him and incapable of living with the noise of contemporary life, and builds a plot around the effects that noise and silence are capable of producing on human behaviour.
In her long-awaited new novel, Fogo-Fátuo (“Ghost Light”), Patrícia Melo tells a gripping crime story. Azucena Gobbi, one of the few upright detectives in São Paulo, is going through a bad patch: Getting home one day, she catches her husband sleeping with her sister. At the same time she is investigating the murder of the dashing telenovela star Fábbio Cássio. The main suspect, his beautiful girlfriend Cayanne, does not seem very affected by his death, as she is too busy struggling to become a celebrity herself. While Azucena tries to get her private life under control, her investigations unexpectedly lead her to a paedophile ring – a place of no return, it seems...
Ostensibly entertaining, this artfully constructed novel once again shows Patrícia Melo’s skill at dismantling Brazilian society and uncovering not only the killer, but also the lies some lives are built on.
Fogo-Fátuo is a great debut adventure for detective Azucena Gobbi. It moreover proves, to the despair of certain academics, that crime novels can, first and foremost, be good literature.
O Estado de S. Paulo
Ladrão de cadáveres (“The Body Snatcher”), Patrícia Melo’s latest novel, is set in the Pantanal, the vast untamed Brazilian lowlands bordering Bolivia. One bright Sunday, alone on the banks of the Paraguay River, the narrator witnesses a fatal crash of a small plane. He finds a kilo of cocaine in the pilot’s backpack. When the crash is located several days later but the pilot’s body is missing, a macabre and dangerous scheme is hatched… Ladrão de cadáveres is a mesmerising mix of conspiracy, sex, betrayal of the living and desecration of the dead.
An excellent and atypical book, a fantastic adventure.
Le Huffington Post
An explosive mixture of dread, greed and corruption. You won’t put it down until you’ve read the very last page.
A literary highlight, world class literature.
Jury of the German Crime Award 2014
In Escrevendo no escuro (“Writing in the Dark”), Patrícia Melo brings to her first collection of short stories the same critical eye for detail and the same psychological insight that characterise her novels. These are stories that intrigue, disquiet, and sometimes puzzle, displaying a universality that addresses many of the anxieties and demons that besiege men and women in the twenty-first century.
LiBeraturpreis 2013, Germany
Prêmio Jabuti 2001, Brazil
Deutscher Krimi-Preis 1998 - best foreign work (International Thrillers), Germany
Prix Deux Océans 1996, Biarritz, France
Nominated for the Prix Fémina 1996, France
Rio de Janeiro: Rocco 2017, 174 p.
Rio de Janeiro: Rocco 2014
TV serial rights sold to TV Globo
English sample translation available
Denmark: Anton & Ludwig ● France: Actes Sud 2017 ● Germany: Klett-Cotta 2017
Ladrão de cadáveres
Rio de Janeiro: Rocco 2010, 208 p.
German Crime Award 2014
Denmark: Anton & Ludwig 2016 ● Egypt: Al Arabi 2016 ● France: Actes Sud 2012 ● Germany: Klett-Cotta 2012, pb Heyne 2014 ● Japan: Hayakawa 2016 ● Mexico: Océano (Spanish rights for America) 2015 ● Portugal: Quetzal 2012 ● UK: Bitter Lemon 2015
São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 2008, Rocco 2010, 173 p.
English sample translation available
Portugal: Campo das Letras 2009
São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 2006, Rocco 2010, 200 p.
France: Actes Sud 2008 ● Portugal: Campo das Letras 2006 ● UK: Bloomsbury 2010
São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 2003, 241 p.
France: Actes Sud ● Germany: Droemer Knaur 2005 ● Portugal: Campo das Letras 2004 ● UK: Bloomsbury 2004
São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 2000, 367 p.
Prêmio Jabuti 2001
France: Actes Sud 2001 ● Germany: Klett-Cotta 2003 ● Greece: Metaichmio 2003 ● Italy: Mondadori ● Portugal: Campo das Letras 2001 ● Romania: Univers ● Spain: Grijalbo Mondadori (Lumen) 2003, pb 2005 ● Turkey: Agora Kultur (avail.) ● UK: Bloomsbury 2002
Elogio da mentira
São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 1998, 187 p.
France: Actes Sud, 2000; Babel pb 2001 ● Germany: Klett-Cotta 1999; Büchergilde Gutenberg 2000; pb Droemer 2003, pb Knaur 2007, Wagenbach 2012 ● Italy: Fanucci 2000 ● Netherlands: Wereldbibliotheek 1999 ● Romania: Univers 2014 ● Spain: Grijalbo Mondadori 2000 ● Sweden: Bonniers 2000; pb 2001 ● Taiwan: Crown ● UK: Bloomsbury 1998 ● US: The Ecco Press 1998
São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 1995, 204 p.
German Crime Award 1998
France: Albin Michel 1996 ● Germany: Klett-Cotta1997; dtv, pb 1999, radio play (SWR) 1999 ● Italy: Feltrinelli 1996, pb 1998 ● Netherlands: Wereldbibliotheek 1997 ● Norway: Aschehoug 1998 ● Portugal: Campo das Letras ● Romania: Univers 2014 ● Russia: Atticus ● Spain: Ediciones B 1997 ● UK: Bloomsbury 1997 ● US: The Ecco Press 1997
São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 1994, Rocco 2009, 133 p.
English sample translation available
France: Actes Sud 2003 ● Germany: Klett-Cotta 2002 ● Italy: IBIS ● Portugal: Campo das Letras 2002; Quetzal
Escrevendo no escuro
Rio de Janeiro: Rocco 2011, 192 p.
Sindróme do Pânico (in Escrevendo no Escuro)
US: Amazon Crossing