Critical Context

Osman Lins published his first novel, O visitante, in 1955, and his second, O fiel e a pedra, in 1961. His first novel won for him several literary prizes, and two of his books of short stories, Os gestos (1957) and Nove, novena (1966), contributed substantially to his reputation as a serious and very talented writer. His works also enjoyed notable success abroad, especially the French translation of Nove, novena. Avalovara itself was ready for publication in Italian, French, and German before the Brazilian edition appeared.

Lins has not been a “popular” writer in Brazil because his works are all, like Avalovara, intellectually and philosophically challenging. He does, however, have a solid reputation as one of Brazil’s most accomplished, as well as one of its most difficult, authors. Avalovara is legitimately regarded as the culmination of a brilliant writer’s career. Though he published one more novel before his death in 1978, Avalovara had obviously been germinating in its author’s mind for some time, since some tentative suggestions of it appeared in earlier works, notably the short stories. Brazilian critics have consistently admired his works, though there have been reservations expressed about some of his technical innovations, occasionally so complex as to produce not much more than perplexity in his readers.

Consistent with such perplexities,...

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