Three subtly connected stories converge in this chimerical debut, showcasing a powerful new Brazilian voice
Sevastopol contains three distinct narratives, each burrowing into a crucial turning point in a person’s life: a young woman gives a melancholy account of her obsession with climbing Mount Everest; a Peruvian-Brazilian vanishes into the forest after staying in a musty, semi-abandoned inn somewhere in the haunted depths of the Brazilian countryside; a young playwright embarks on the production of a play about the city of Sevastopol and a Russian painter portraying Crimean War soldiers.
Inspired by Tolstoy’s The Sevastopol Sketches, Emilio Fraia masterfully weaves together these stories of yearning and loss, obsession and madness, failure and the desire to persist, in a restrained manner reminiscent of the prose of Anton Chekhov, Roberto BolaÃ±o, and Rachel Cusk.
Praise for Sevastopol
A truly beautiful book that is hard to describe without using words like precision, subtlety and, mostly, wisdom
– Alejandro Zambra
Like the writers I most admire, Fraia sets for himself the hardest and most respectable task a writer can face: unravelling the mystery without revealing the secret
– Javier Montes
Fraia captures a very specific sense of what it is like to live in SÃ£o Paulo in the current political climate, but he also captures something much more universal: what it is like to live in a culture from which you feel entirely disconnected and, within that culture, to try to make art of any kind. I think that theme can speak to readers in any country
– Deborah Treisman
Graceful and melancholic, enhanced by ZoÃ« Perry’s subtle translation… Impeccably realised, and this is another groundbreaking publication from newish Lolli Editions
– Catherine Taylor, The Irish Times
Somber, spare stories that let the reader crawl inside, searching for insight, only to be left greedily craving more
– Kirkus Reviews
If Graciliano Ramos describes the old, romantic Brazil of a century ago, Emilio Fraia describes something much more like the country that exists today-the country and people I know… The translation is excellent, by the way
– Benjamin Moser
Pointillist? The fragmentary character of this allusive, mercurial book is such that, when you finish it, you have an assortment of eye-catching puzzle pieces but no clear sense of how they’re meant to go together
– The Wall Street Journal
Beguilingly dreamlike? With remarkable agility, Fraia draws connections between voyeurism, narrative ethics, contemporary art and the no-man’s-land of memories that stir within dreams
– Adam Morris, TLS
EMILIO FRAIA was born in SÃ£o Paulo in 1982. Sevastopol, his third book, was one of the winners of the Biblioteca Nacional Prize and a finalist for the Oceanos Prize and Jabuti Prize. One of Granta’s Best Young Brazilian Writers, Fraia has been awarded a Civitella Ranieri Writing Fellowship and is currently an editor at Companhia das Letras.
ZOÃ PERRY‘s translations of contemporary Portuguese-language writers have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, and Words Without Borders. She is a founding member of the London-based translators’ collective the Starling Bureau.