Beatriz Bracher: Courtesy of the Lucia Riff Agency

Beatriz Bracher

born in São Paulo in 1961, grew up under the Brazilian military dictatorship. Her memories of that time intersect with the lives of people whose friends and lovers were tortured, exiled, and killed, as well as with those who did the killing. An editor, screenwriter, and the author of six books of fiction, Bracher has won three of Brazil’s most prestigious literary awards: the Clarice Lispector Prize, the Rio Prize, and the São Paulo Prize.

I Didn't Talk

Fiction by Beatriz Bracher

Translated from the Portuguese by Adam Morris

A professor prepares to retire—Gustavo is set to move from São Paulo to the countryside, but it isn’t the urban violence he’s fleeing: what he fears most is the violence of his memory. But as he sorts out his papers, the ghosts arrive in full force. He was arrested in 1970 with his brother-in-law Armando: both were viciously tortured. He was eventually released; Armando was killed. No one is certain that he didn’t turn traitor: I didn’t talk, he tells himself, yet guilt is his lifelong harvest.…
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Bracher’s story abounds with narrative and thematic contradictions and encompasses everything from the gulf between our own self-image and how others perceive us to the flaws that can arise when one attempts to apply literary analysis to a life. The resulting narrative is unpredictable and its dissonances resonate powerfully.

Words Without Borders

While the central question—did Gustavo give away his brother-in-law?—serves as a locus for the book, it is really an extended meditation on a variety of topics: the (un)reliability of memory, the meaning of education, the way members of families see one another, and the crushing impact of the dictatorship years on generations past and present. Translator Adam Morris deftly renders Bracher’s conversational style, chasing Gustavo as he skips from one topic to another, lost in the haze of memory.

World Literature Today
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