Alessandro Thomé was born in São Paulo in 1974 and graduated in Literature from the Universidade Metodista de São Paulo. He is the author of the novels ATÉ O FIM DO DIA (UNTIL THE END OF THE DAY), A CASA ILUMINADA (THE LIGHTENED HOUSE), a finalist for the Benvirá Literature Prize in 2011, and CÃO MAIOR (CANIS MAJOR), which won the Julia Lopes de Almeida Award for Best Novel and was adapted into a short film that received numerous awards at festivals across Brazil and Europe.
PERTO DOS OLHOS DE DEUS (CLOSE TO THE EYES OF GOD) is his latest novel and has received highly acclaimed reviews. The author’s main concern is that readers are sending messages saying they have run out of tears while following the great adventure of the protagonist in this sensitive and emotional novel.
CLOSE TO THE EYES OF GOD (PERTO DOS OLHOS DE DEUS)
At the age of 33, our narrator embarks on a life-altering journey, gazing upon the vast sea for the very first time. Her mission? To scatter her mother’s ashes into the ocean, a woman with whom she shared a complex and tumultuous relationship. Against the backdrop of poverty and destituteness, these two resilient women endured a life of hardship. But now, with her mother’s passing and the boundless sea stretching before her, the daughter seizes a unique opportunity—to embrace freedom in its purest form. Yet, she carries the scars of a wounded soul, her dreams shrouded in despair. For her, true freedom seems to lie in the power to dictate her own final chapter.
So, she embarks on a poignant journey. She sells the remnants of her mother’s legacy, acquires a boat, and equips it with only the essential provisions, all meticulously prepared for her intended voyage into the vast expanse of the ocean, where she envisions her death. With no way back to land, she makes an unexpected discovery —a stowaway, an enigmatic feline, has clandestinely joined her on this odyssey. From that moment onward, her desire to end her own life wanes, replaced by an unwavering determination to rescue the feline companion, even as the possibility of retreat slips further from her grasp.
From this deceptively simple premise, CLOSE TO THE EYES OF GOD embarks on a riveting exploration of the very essence of what drives a human being to lose themselves. It delves deep into the roots of our existence, the paths we choose—and those thrust upon us—the intricate web of choices and the stark reality of not always having the privilege to choose. Amid this labyrinth, a lost soul finds herself, slowly unraveling the threads that have bound her throughout her life’s journey. Mother and daughter, both victims of a system that turned a blind eye to their suffering, come to the forefront of this powerful narrative. Her death wish surprisingly becomes a profound awakening to the true value of life. She comprehends her mother, she understands herself, and she comes to grips with the complex tapestry of motherhood and caregiving. This isn’t just an ordinary nautical adventure; it’s an exhilarating dive into the depths of what it means to be a mother and a daughter. It’s a tale of redemption, forgiveness, a reconnection with ancestral roots, and a heartfelt tribute to the exquisite beauty of life—and the unwavering desire to preserve it.
Publication/Status: Published by Assírio & Alvim (Brazil) in May 2022. [245 pages]
English sample available.
CANIS MAJOR (CÃO MAIOR)
At the age of 6, Petria starts being abused by her father. At 12, his father is already making money out of his daughter’s prostitution. Petria sees in the stars the figures she is fond of, mainly fishes. She wishes a book about fishes, which she can’t afford. At that time, Alfredinho moves into the neighborhood with his family, coming from their shed by a river bank, after it was taken over by a dam. To help his parents, Alfredinho looks for a job and meets Petria in the streets. They become friends, and the boy falls in love with her. Not able to find a job, Alfredinho, incited by his sister, starts stealing, and, in an attempt to give Petria some joy in life, they run away, so he can show her live fishes in the place where his house stood before.
The girl’s father, however, holds Alfredinho’s whole family hostage until his father brings Petria back. Forbidden to see the girl anymore, Alfredinho decides to go on his last theft, in order to buy the book she wishes so much. His plans go terribly wrong. A high literary and sad novel about underdogs in Brazilian society.
Publication/Status: On submission.
THE LIGHTENED HOUSE (A CASA ILUMINADA)
Beatriz is killed and raped. The widower Melquiades, tormented, sets his own house on fire. Ismael, the murderer, surrenders to the Police and Melquiades decides to meet the man who destroyed his life. As they talk, he finds out that Ismael is a fisherman and he likes to paint. Ismael is in prison now and Melquiades sets off his plans to punish Ismael. Thus, he moves to a small fishermen’s village, where he starts taking pictures that allude to freedom, which he sends to Ismael in jail, always with a taunting note. In return, he also gets back provoking notes. Melquiades ends up involved with the local community and marries one of the fishermen’s daughter, just to be able to shoot her and send the photos to Ismael.
But, committed as he was to his revenge plan, he turns into a lonely man and, as the sea slowly swallows the whole village, Melquiades realizes that Ismael has become his only friend in this world. When there’s no village left, he makes up his mind and goes to pay his nemesis a visit in prison, where he finds out that Ismael is now a famous artist, who has painted in canvas all those photo images he kept receiving from Melquiades along the years.
Publication/Status: by Benvirá (Brazil) in 2012. [208 pages]
TILL THE END OF THE DAY (ATÉ O FIM DO DIA)
Mr. Angelo wakes up to struggle with another day of pain as he waits for death to come. Tired of her days like a housewife, Rosa, Atilio’s wife, recollects her old taste for music and tries to claw back to her old radio, once thrown in a toilet. Their kid Xandinho starts discovering sex along with his boy friend. Atilio gets a promotion at work and foresees in it the chance to have some fun in life at last. They all belong to the same family, living in a detached farm, a reward from Mr. Angelo’s hard work, but each one of the characters is deep acts as if he or she were completely alone in the world.
Xandinho’s sex experiments with Pablo make his friend go missing. Pablo’s mom, Irene, blames the whole family for that. Years later, already grown up, Xandinho is back to the farm to relive their last days in that place and discovers secrets and consequences of the deeds of each member of the family.
Publication/Status: by Alley (Brazil) in 2007. [180 pages]