Lost World is a road trip, a heady journey through contemporary Brazil which is a country of contrasts; provincial, miserable, rich, fertile, warm and violent all at the same time. Maiquel, a professional killer being hunted by the police, decides to go after his daughter who has been kidnapped by his former lover. As Maiquel’s trip progresses, we see the many different sides of Brazil, with its deep running problems like hunger, violence, corruption, reflected in Maiquel, who is both a nice guy and a professional killer at the same time.
Whenever I set out to write a new novel, I build a kind of reef made out of books which inspire me around myself. I often include Dostoyevsky. His characters are dense, filled with conflicts and are perhaps symbolic of the schizoid mind that characterises us today. He was writing in the 19th century and was a prophet in that sense. Nabokov is someone else who inspires me: his writing has such a visual quality and is wonderfully colourful, almost like a movie in the form of a book. And there are many other writers too, James Cain, for instance. It is easy to hear echoes of Camus’ prose in my writing, he is another fundamental reference in my work. This multiplicity of influences helps me to run away from something critics use to call "style", which at the end of the day, is a trap for any author. It is always best to reinvent oneself.
I follow the work of Phillip Roth, J.M. Coetzee and Amos Oz religiously. In my opinion, they are the most important of today’s writers exploring the nature of contemporary man: lonely, dazed and hungry for new horizons.
Violence has been a central theme in each of my novels. I have tried to explore its many different forms: social violence, emotional violence, physical violence and the street violence. But the kind of violence which interests me most is the street violence that comes with urban living. I see it as a kind of swine flu infecting the world. It is an epidemic, one cannot avoid it. It is imbedded in our culture, as a form of language, so to speak. A young man who walks into a university to kill twenty people is certainly trying to express something. That kind of violence fascinates me.
Sexuality is part of the creative force of life. One cannot imagine Phillip Roth’s writing with the sexual adventures taken out. The same as we cannot imagine Dostoyevsky, with his fascination for death, writing in an erotic style. His relationship with Dunia is almost asexual, however loving. Which means: Sex is important in as much as it is important in the narrative texture of the characters. My books show an exacerbated sexuality, because my characters are desperate. And sex can also be a form of evasion, a way out.
I see my writing as concise and at the same time flexible and vertiginous. I always use humour in my text; acid humour, black humour. As I write I try to remember the words of Henry James: a writer can be anything, except boring. I like it when I get the feeling that I am taking the reader on a frenetic journey that is full of surprises. That is my goal.
My next book is about perversion which I see as a fever or illness which stays buried within us, just waiting for the opportunity to come out. I believe man is essentially bad and that goodness is something which takes a long time to be learned – it is the hardest apprenticeship for human kind. The story is based around the idea of God and takes place in Brazil’s central plain, which is a paradise on earth. There, a man steals a corpse and blackmails a family who are desperate for the return of their loved one’s remains so that they can perform the funeral rites. Also, it is full of dark humour!
Lost World is published by Bloomsbury