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Charco Press

The Dark Side of Skin by Jeferson Tenório, Bruna Dantas Lobato (Paperback)

The Dark Side of Skin by Jeferson Tenório, Bruna Dantas Lobato (Paperback)

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Fiction - Family Life - Literary - Political -  World Literature - Brazil 


Life under Brazil’s brutal “cordial racism” comes painfully alive in this novel of fathers and sons.

How do you become the protagonist of your own life? For Pedro, it means searching for himself in the objects his father left behind: the layers that make up his life, and that of his parents, and the circumstances, geographies, and wounds that shaped them all. It’s an archaeology of affections, but also of life in southern Brazil, where being black on the streets of Porto Alegre manifests violences large and small. Where being a young woman, raised by a single mother, may find you seeking security in the untrustworthy arms of men.

In Dark Side of Skin , Jeferson Tenório takes on fathers and sons, Shakespeare and Cervantes, and the inescapable bonds and burdens of family and history in one delicately rendered, painfully precise account of loved ones lost and found.


Jeferson Tenório was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1977. Based in Porto Alegre, he is a doctoral student in Literary Theory at PUCRS and a lecturer in literature. His literary debut was the nove_l O beijo na parede_ (Kiss on the Wall, 2013), chosen as book of the year by the Rio Grande do Sul Writers' Association. His writing has been adapted for the theatre and translated into English and Spanish. He's also the author of Estela sem Deus (Godless Star, 2018). The Dark Side of Skin won the PEN Translates Award in the UK and the 2021 Jabuti Prize for the Best Novel published in Brazil.


Bruna Dantas Lobato is a writer and translator. Her debut novel, Blue Light Hours, is forthcoming in October 2024 from Grove Atlantic in the U.S. and Companhia das Letras/PRH in Brazil in her own translation. Her translations from Portuguese include The Words that Remain by Stênio Gardel (winner of the 2023 National Book Award for Translated Literature), The Dark Side of Skin by Jeferson Tenório (winner of an English PEN Translates Award), and Moldy Strawberries by Caio Fernando Abreu (longlisted for the PEN Translation Prize, longlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize, and winner of a PEN/Heim Translation Grant), among others.Her fiction has appeared in The New YorkerGuernicaA Public Space, and The Common . She holds an MFA in Fiction from New York University and an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Iowa. Bruna was born and raised in Natal, Brazil, and lives in St. Louis, U.S, with her partner and pet bunny.

"Through a deep dive into its characters, The Dark Side of Skin succeeds in addressing the central issues of Brazilian society. "" --Geovani Martins, author of THE SUN ON MY HEAD

"Here we have a writer who, running every risk, knows how to engineer a good plot and to charm readers. I'm grateful, and Brazilian literature is grateful too. "" --Paulo Scott, author of PHENOTYPES

"A necessary, hard-hitting work that humanises us at the same time as it strips us of any innocence about the racist machine that relentlessly destroys lives in every way imaginable." --Jornal de Letras

"Tenório's The Dark Side of Skin is the beat of the Afro-Brazilian atabaque drum that leads readers to withdraw into an initiatory trance in order to understand that they are capable of thinking, reflecting and acting in search of the freedoms the black population still lack today." --Literafro

"The book analyses with great depth, beauty and delicacy a theme that is much more complex than it may seem, reminding us that, despite the urgent need to change a society where so much remains wrong, it is not enough to heal the superficial wounds. It is also necessary to heal those that are inside, hidden under the skin." --Observador


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