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The Castles of Ipanema (Nunca houve um castelo)



Original Language: Brazilian Portuguese | 248 pp. | April 2018

2 Seas Represents: Dutch, World English and Nordic rights.

Rights sold: France (Denoël), Italy (Feltrinelli), Portugal (Porto)

Over 2,500 copies sold

English sample available & French translation available


This novel creates a fictional story for Johan Edward Jansson and his descendants, and how the family contributed to the shaping of Rio de Janeiro.

Divided into two parts, the narrative first explores the arrival of Johan to Rio, as the Sweden ambassador in Brazil. He and his wife, the exotic and sensitive Brigitta, contributed to transforming a sleepy beach community, Ipanema, into one of the coolest and most charming destinations in the world. Johan’s vision and love for the city led him to build a majestic castle just in front of the beach. The year was 1904, and the magnificence and mysteries of the neighborhood allow extraordinary characters to come to life. Brigitta, haunted by the voices in her head, Laura Alvim, a rich and spoiled girl who aspires to be an actress, and Alvaro, a well-known doctor who saved countless lives, but fell victim of his own experiments with science.

The second part of the book tells the story of Johan’s grandson, Otavio, and his wife Estela. Now much more densely populated, Ipanema still maintains some of the poetry of the early days, but it is changed by a whirlwind of modern development. The country is also going through a deep transformation, due to a military dictatorship. The changes are seen through the eyes of Beto, Estela’s secret lover, and Maria Lucia, Otavio’s first love.

The Castles of Ipanema brings together multiple subplots, with facts, historical figures and fictional characters mixed into a well-orchestrated narrative. It tells a story that can be seen all across Latin America, where short memory and short-sighted decisions of a few were enough to scar the lives of many.