Tania Faillace: an important voice in Brazilian narrative

Although the reading experience is deeply personal, I think we can share important ideas about the literary work, especially about the bond between the author and the reader, a kind of gift of the power of words. All I care about here are good stories and, yes, good writing. Let’s talk about Tania Jamardo Faillace, a very important voice in Brazilian fiction. In fact, I came across Faillace’s stories a year ago. And I asked myself: how come nobody talks about Failure anymore? In fact, I have read just a couple of lines about her work in a Brazilian literature manual. So, I started looking for her books that are no longer in print. I can’t explain it, but all I can say is that at the first moment I understood that there was something waiting for me there.

He began painting and writing at a young age and his first short stories appeared in local newspapers in southern Brazil in 1962. Also in that year, two short stories, “A Descoberta” (The Find) and “O Navio” (The Ship), were published. published in a now famous anthology entitled “Nove do Sul” (Nine of the South). In 1964, Globo, then one of the largest publishers in Brazil, accepted Faillace’s novel “Fuga” (Escape), bringing Faillace’s work to a much wider audience. Faillace’s second novel, “Adão e Eva” (Adam and Eve), was published in 1965 by the same publisher. At about the same time, he continued to publish short stories in newspapers and literary magazines.

Storytelling is surely one of the oldest arts. But stories as a literary form have been developing over the years. In Brazilian literature, after the publication in 1956 of “Contos do Imigrante” (Tales of an Immigrant) by Samuel Rawet, in which Rawet suppressed the traditional tale, new perspectives were opened for writers for the first time. Perhaps Rawet’s advance on the old narrative forms represents the true beginning of the postmodern short story in the country. Since then, the form has been growing, changing, evolving. One of Rawet’s main resources is the interior monologue. That is, the author shows the thoughts and emotions that go through the minds of the protagonists. In Rawet, through a radicalization of this literary device, the narrative voice changes constantly as in a kind of crazy dream or vertigo.

Faillace’s stories differ in important ways from traditional narratives. From the beginning, a different voice could be recognized, the strength of his narrative prose. She is an intimate writer. In other words, subjectivity literally builds the town. She pioneers as a powerful female voice that makes excluded voices count in the literary landscape of her state, Rio Grande do Sul. In “The 35th Year of Inés,” published in 1971, one of her most distinguished stories, Faillace intimidates us with the emptiness of an unlived life. For me, this story touches greatness. Indeed, Faillace cuts through domestic surfaces into the emotional and psychological turmoil that lies beneath. The interest here is focused on the development of the main character. Two women live in a suburban house, Inés (in English, her name is pronounced Ee-nays) and her widowed mother. Mother and daughter live a boring and lonely existence. For decades she has accepted the role of educated daughter: the unmarried virgin daughter with no sexual desires. Still, her behavior and appearance are always criticized by the family. Finally, when she turned 34, she found herself in a limit situation: “Now, she must take a position.” She must face her last chance, the possibility of living a future. However, when she finally dares to live a life of her own, it is only to discover that the bourgeois conventions are always eager to take revenge for such an offense.

Failure works diligently and often brilliantly at his craft. Nothing is superfluous. Words and sentences are not wasted. Descriptive details do not block the narrative. The narration is the result of a unique and still complete experience. In large part, Faillace achieves this effect by paying close attention to time and memory. And whether moving through the years just before the coup in the “Mario/Vera” novel or just before and after the same day in some short stories, he presents time not linearly, but as layers. In addition, he knows how to transform the social environment into art. Stories that make us worry, stories that force us to turn the page. She shows the deep struggle of women for self-expression and freedom. For her, writing is searching. And she is surrounded by personal moral convictions, because she herself was unable to accept the role that society had imposed on women. Surely her stories amplify our own sense of human possibility and responsibility.

Faillace knows how to capture the suffocating air of the 50s and 60s. Consequently, “Mario/Vera – Brasil, 1962/1964” was the novel he published in 1983 and recaptures the decisive years of Brazilian politics: 1964 was the year of the coup military. The story follows the main characters through a period of trouble, discovery, love, and loss. Neither falsely romantic nor optimistic, Mario/Vera deals with the impermanence of love and the certainty of pain. It’s also about enjoying the fellowship. Failce has a gift for dialogue that so effectively captures the dramatic tone of people seeking understanding and connection. The conversations are alive. In Faillac’s stories, women are the most complex characters. These women have in common a sense of loss – of purpose, connection and meaning – that was widely experienced in those years. But, although there is so much pain in her stories, I cannot say that the author is pessimistic, since she approaches psychological and political problems not as an end but as a beginning.

In the years that Brazil suffered from the institutionalization of torture and censorship (1964-1985), Faillace worked as a journalist in his native Porto Alegre. His fight against the status quo never gave up. Many of her comrades involved in the same struggle for genuine democracy in Brazil stopped in the middle of the road or, worse still, sold out for money and power, but not her; she still fights the good fight.

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