Osman Lins (leens) was born in the state of Pernambuco in northeastern Brazil, a region whose cultural heritage is often elaborated in his fiction. Lins was the son of a tailor and was reared by his grandmother; he never knew his mother, and the author himself has speculated that his exploratory fiction may be psychologically linked to that loss. Lins went to high school in the state capital, Recife, where he also studied economics at the university. During this period he published his first stories. In addition, Lins studied dramaturgy at the university. He later wrote and published several plays, some of which were staged in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Lins moved to metropolitan São Paulo to work for the Banco do Brasil. After retiring from the banking profession and completing a doctoral degree, Lins taught literature at a private college. He soon resigned his position, both to dedicate himself to writing and in protest of the precarious conditions of higher education in Brazil, a topic he addresses in essays and fiction. When he died, Lins was in the process of finishing another novel.
Lins’s early work is largely introspective but also has some regionalist features. O visitante (the visitor) concerns moral questions and the relationship of personal awareness to behavioral codes. These preoccupations are also evident in the individual stories of Os gestos (gestures) and in O fiel e a pedra (the faithful and the stone), which is set in the author’s home state. This novel has an epic design (derived from Vergil’s Aeneid) and a clear moral intent. The hero, moved by passion and...
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