One of the pleasures of reading extensively of the work of one author is how you begin to catch the tics and tells that betray the author’s concerns beyond the basic plot of the story, novel, poem or etc that you have in your hand.
An example would be, when I was recently rereading my John dos Passos books, a man who in his time who was as big as Hemingway and bigger than Faulkner ever hoped to be, I began to notice how much his general observations were of an olfactory nature. Trapped air versus fresh air. Armpits versus flowers.
My admission as to having reread dos Passos should be enough to tell you how much time I have on my hands these days.
Anyway, the point is, these tics, these hiccups, are the things that make us, the collective we, the ideal reader, feel that we know the author, that in addition to the basic plot points, the what and to whom, that there is some concatenation with the man or woman holding the pen or pecking at the keyboard and our humble selves.
As someone who has translated and read a fair amount of Drummond’s oeuvre, I have begun to see beyond the events of the story in question and to make the connection to Drummond’s larger concerns. These are, and I should add are no small points, a concern over the homogenization of Brazilian culture (and by extrapolation all cultures), a concern over the effect of multinational or transnational companies’ branding on a country’s identity, and a concern with the nature of reality in the narrative.
What I’ve said in the previous paragraph can be reduced to the following axiom: Roberto Drummond is both a postmodernist and a minimalist. He is postmodern in that he follows some of the tenets of Magic-Realism, and he is minimalist in that he follows the severe introspection over the quotidian of the American minimalists.
His biography, in brief, is that he was a young journalist during the political upheaval of the sixties whose writing eventually got him in trouble. While he wasn’t exiled, he was blackballed and couldn’t earn a living as a journalist either. He eventually became a sportswriter, knowing that he wouldn’t get in trouble politically with that. Drummond was a big, HUGE, fan of Atletico Mineiro, and he wrote about soccer to earn his living for the rest of his life.
The mythology is that he died watching Brazil play England in the 2002 World Cup.
On the side, this public man – his soccer column was nationally syndicated, and he also had a regionally broadcast TV show on the sport – but, on the side, this public man wrote his fiction. At the time of his death, he was the author of eight novels, one of which was made into a telenovela, and two collections of stories.
This is the first time his fiction has been published in English.