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The Wood Word (A máquina de madeira)

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Original Language: Brazilian Portuguese | 240 pp. | 2012

2 Seas Represents: Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, and World English rights.

Rights sold: Canada (Lux Editeur)

Full French translation and English Sample Available.

Depending on the publisher and the quality of the translation, translations from the Brazilian Portuguese can be funded by the Brazilian Ministry of Culture. Click here for more information.

Historical novel, right, but well seasoned by a memoir drive. Even if we talk about posthumous memories of a future that has never materialized.” – João Cezar de Castro Rocha, O Estado de S. Paulo

In a mid-19th century Brazil, a society based on slave labor and concerned with setting down an indigenous mythology, a priest scientist dreams about instruments destined to free humans through work. Among his inventions is the world’s first mass-produced typewriter, completed in 1859 and awarded a prize at the 1861 National Expo in Rio de Janeiro. The narrative follows Brazil’s attempts at modernization and the dilemmas of a man torn between priesthood and science, between celibacy and love for an ex-slave. The author depicts a country unable to keep up with its finest minds and that ends up left behind. Its innovations are smuggled to the US, where the typewriter is industrialized (under the Remington brand) while the priest’s name is erased from history. A swift, moving and human novel, that speaks of Brazil past and present, and a requiem to the mechanical world.