Enigmas of Spring, the most recent novel by Brazilian writer João Almino, has been included on the shortlist for the São Paulo Prize for Literature.
The São Paulo Prize is the largest literary award in Brazil, and with its large purse, one of the largest literary prizes in the world. Recent winners include Cristóvão Tezza for The Eternal Son and Daniel Galera for Blood-Drenched Beard.
Enigmas of Spring by João Almino follows the life of a young disaffected man from Brasília who slowly becomes obsessed with medieval Catholicism and Islam, eventually traveling to Madrid and going through mosques, palaces, and a number of romances, before his interests threaten to boil over into violent and even deadly action. According to the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo, Enigmas of Spring is “first solid work, in Brazilian literature, to bring to the pages of fiction (and for subjective experience) the political movements of the latest years.”
João Almino is the author of six novels in total, the first five of which form the well-known Brasília Quintet. Almino has also written numerous works of criticism, philosophy, and political commentary, and taught at a number of universities, including UNAM, UC Berkeley, Stanford, and the University of Chicago. He is a long-time diplomat for the Brazilian government and currently serves as the Consul General in Madrid; he previously served as the Consul General in Chicago and Miami.
The Brazilian writer Moacyr Scliar has described Almino as “among our country’s greatest authors.” In the United States, Almino’s novels have been praised by the likes of Lorrie Moore and Marjorie Perloff.
Four of Almino’s novels are available in English translation: Book of Emotions, Free City, and Enigmas of Spring are all available from Dalkey Archive Press, while The Five Seasons of Love is available from Host Publications.
Congratulations to João Almino and the other finalists!