Felipe Franco Munhoz

Felipe Franco Munhoz was born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1990. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Communication from the Universidade Federal do Paraná. MENTIRAS (LIES), his debut novel, received a grant from the Brazilian National Foundation for the Arts (Bolsa Funarte de Criação Literária), in 2010, and was published by Editora Nós in 2016. The novel dialogues with the work of Philip Roth, and Munhoz read some excerpts from the novel’s draft at the celebrations of Roth’s eightieth birthday in Newark, invited by The Philip Roth Society, in 2013.
It was followed by the closet play IDENTITIES (Nós, 2018), critically acclaimed by the Brazilian press, and by the drama-poetry Lanterns to Nirvana (Record, 2022). From the Russian, he translated “The Bronze Horseman and Other Poems” (O cavaleiro de bronze e outros poemas, Kalinka, 2022): a selection of Pushkin’s poetry, including the first complete version ever published in Brazil of “The Bronze Horseman”.
An experimentalist in the best sense, a true modernist. His published texts are not like any other texts I have seen: just to look at them tells you he is pushing boundaries. As a bystander, I know how dogged and singleminded he has had to be to get his work into print. He was 18 when I first knew him, writing songs, and now fourteen years later, he has a reputation as one of the most inventive young writers in Brazil.
– Tom Stoppard (playwright)
Curtains made of voices; relationships beginning and fading-out; a drone locked in a cage; a key that reaches a door, but doesn’t open it; a key that could open a door, but doesn’t reach it; screws turning in the middle of the pages; knifes; sleeplessness; mythologies; curtains made of deserts. Swinging from despair to hope / swinging back from passion to collapse, Love at the end of the future stages Felipe Franco Munhoz’s characteristic and unique literary style in its full power of expression. Enter the characters: So-called Mephistopheles, who translates and distorts Emily Dickinson’s verses, Alma, who is anxious-dissatisfied in her remote job, a contemporary Socrates, a couple of Ghostimminents, and Pandora, and Charon, and a Choir of forgers.
A short book that took five years to come together, it merges drama with various poetic forms – zigzagging from São Paulo to New York City / zagzigging from new technologies to nothing, the author explores ­(traversing its avant-gardist story arc) winding cartographies: of emptiness, small rooms, an ivory tower, the creative process and the human heart.

Publication/Status: To be published by Record (Brazil) in 2024.
Intertwining poetry and dramaturgy, turning pages into stages (or stages into pages?), Lanterns to Nirvana investigates lights and shadows – focused both on details of the human being and on expansions of the language – to architect texts that can be regarded as performances or installations. Thus, among noises and silences, among depictions of challenges of interpersonal communication in the contemporary world, among signs and ciphers, while poetic forms are projected (and, in a second, contorted), characters appear, disappear, return; small plots are revealed and backstages are exposed.
LANTERNS TO NIRVANA was elaborated during the lockdown of the author (a 312-day lockdown, during the most difficult phase of the pandemic); each section of the book presents a date: the beginning of its writing – a seed to the reader reflect whether were changes in style and ideas influenced by the passage of time and by the confinement itself. Lanterns to Nirvana is a fragmented book: in which every fragment is an independent body that turns out to be a puzzle piece. Perhaps it’s the same abyss already visited by Felipe Franco Munhoz, but perhaps the fall, now, is a little faster and, paradoxically, a little deeper.

Publication/Status: Published by Record (Brazil) in May 2022. [112 pages]
Inspired by Philip Roth’s complete works, Lies is entirely composed in dialogues, with the voices of three characters: Felipe, Philip and Thaís. Felipe, a young writer, is working on his first novel – the exact novel that the reader follows in real time. In the very first sentence, Felipe drags into his work (freshly started, but already in-progress) an experienced author, a pessimist, who will have the role of conduct him through the process of literary creation: Philip. At a café, every morning, Felipe and his kind of false double (or false counterpoint) debate the style, forms, contents, the progress of the book and the events that unfold between Felipe and Thaís, at Thaís’ apartment, night after night.
While Felipe and Philip are fully aware about their fictional existence, about the fictional context in which they are inserted (even manipulating it), Thaís, who is Felipe’s lover, believes she is a living person. Within this concept, this thick weft of impossible mirrors, each book written by Philip Roth is implicitly quoted; and Lies becomes, in the end, a stage to discuss not only literature itself and art, but also love, religions, cultural differences, among other themes.

Publication/Status: Published by Editora Nós (Brazil) in 2016. [208 pages]
A sort of 21st century Faust from São Paulo, Brazil, Identities follows the physical and emotional transformations of its protagonists. The young Faust, a man who was born in a woman’s body, wanders, almost deliriously, in search of Mephistopheles: in search of some pact that would magically grant him the desired transition. Mistaken for the devil in the subway (and, maliciously, assuming this deceptive role), Supposed Mephistopheles enters, therefore, in Faust’s trance. Supposed Mephistopheles suffers from a mosaic genetic condition that causes massive tumors to grow, visible, along the nerves of one of his legs; a condition that could be transmitted, even in hyperbolic variations, to his descendants – and Camila, with whom he has a romantic relationship, is pregnant. Aware of the possible hereditary transmission, Camila considers whether to interrupt her pregnancy.
IDENTIDADES, structured upon dramaturgical pavement, an amalgam of diverse poetic proposals (from free to more fixed verses), seeks page by page, case by case, to merge form and content: exploring multiple aesthetic trajectories and multiple ways to shape the language.

Publication/Status: Published by Editora Nós (Brazil) in 2018. [208 pages]
I’ve never found anything similar among what young people give me to read. […] Identities has a unique place in contemporary Brazilian literature.
– Caetano Veloso (Brazilian composer, singer and writer)