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Astra House

Pedro and Marques Take Stock: A Picaresque Novel by José Falero (Hardcover)

Pedro and Marques Take Stock: A Picaresque Novel by José Falero (Hardcover)

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Fiction - Crime - World Literature - Brazil


Translated by: Julia Sanches 

A modern picaresque novel and vivid satire on social mobility where the lives of two Brazilian supermarket stock clerks are upturned after their small-time marijuana business takes off.

In the favelas of Porto Alegre, Brazil, marijuana is hard to come by. Supermarket stock clerks Pedro and Marques spend their days unloading trucks, restocking shelves, and dreaming of a better life, of breaking the cycle of poverty that has afflicted their families and their community. Well-acquainted with the drug dealers in their neighborhood and seeing an opportunity to earn a little extra cash, they decide to start a weed-dealing operation. 

The economic hierarchies of Porto Alegre are turned upside down as, almost accidentally, the two men build a thriving enterprise and get rich, quickly. Distribution grows from dime bags to kilos, and Pedro and Marques begin to plan for a future where low-wage work will never again be a necessity for them and their families. All too soon however, their operation starts attracting outsider attention, and cracks in their carefully crafted and seemingly untouchable world begin to show, culminating in one final, lethal showdown.  

A witty, voice-driven, and electrifying portrait of poverty and a canny examination of the ethics of drug dealing and low-wage labor in the underbelly of Brazil, Pedro and Marques Take Stock is a contemporary picaresque novel of class and crime.


José Falero lives in Porto Alegre, Brazil. He is the author of Vila Sapo, a story collection published by Todavia in 2019, and Mas em que mundo tu vive?, a collection of essays published by Todavia in 2021. The English translation of his story collection is forthcoming from Astra House. Pedro and Marques Take Stock is his first work to be translated into English.

"[A] vibrant and punchy novel . . . Through Falero’s lovable characters, readers will meditate on violence and respectability within the death-trap of runaway capitalism. Head-on against the grim indignities of an unequal world, Falero’s poetic novel embraces humor and empathy."
 —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"José Falero masterfully portrays the margins of a poor country in a world that has been globalized since the galleons set sail in the 15th century. A critical, superbly written, tragicomic novel for our times and all time in the history of world literature."
—Paulo Lins, author of City of God

"Pedro and Marques Take Stock is a combustive cocktail of heart and farce. Brazenly, hilariously, Falero stirs together Nietzschean ethics, Tarantino-slick dialogue, and the piquant cynicism of Machado de Assis, then pours it all frothing and jocular through the favelas of modern-day Porto Alegre. The result bites and delights, a skewering of systemic inequality and the hoary rags-to-riches myths that condone global poverty. I knocked this back in one sitting, and can’t wait for round two."
—Jakob Guanzon, author of Abundance

"Gritty, authentic, and unapologetic. A searing portrait of men raging against poverty."
—Futhi Ntshingila, author of We Kiss Them with Rain

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