It's still sunny in Ipanema

Tilpo (Hans Eriksson), Best wishes from us, 2011


Comment on the recently published book by Luís Pimentel

The chronicle of Brazilian customs was born in the former federal capital, in the mid-nineteenth century. It reached maturity early, at the hands of authors as distinguished as Machado de Assis, Lima Barreto and João do Rio. Sometimes ruthless, sarcastic, sometimes tender, almost poetic portraits of an always multiform and unequal reality in a nascent metropolis on the periphery of the world.

The genre gained very Brazilian characteristics, and often it is not possible to distinguish what is observation and what is imagination, or fiction. Chronicle or short story? Masters like Rubem Braga and Paulo Mendes Campos became paradigms, assisted by writers of the caliber of Cecilia Meireles, Nélson Rodrigues and Carlos Drummond de Andrade, each with their own and unmistakable style.

Fiction increasingly meddled in the work of chroniclers like Stanislaw Ponte Preta or Aldir Blanc, always rooted in the observation of everyday life, people on the streets, people who seem to have no other stage than the streets. Others, more tragic, deepen the portrait of urban hell, like Rubens Fonseca in his first writings.

From all these sources, the writer Luís Pimentel draws, and distils in his new book of short stories, It's still sunny in Ipanema. Experienced in various genres, from children's and youth to the theater, passing through journalism in the Quibbler and through comedy programs on TV, Pimentel crystallizes in this volume all his experience as a resident and attentive observer of the human landscape of Rio de Janeiro. Sharp in the dialogues, concise in the plots and surprising in the endings, the author manages to take us from laughter to amazement in a few lines.

The book was awarded in Portugal and is now published in Brazil. Demonstrating full knowledge of the lesson of the masters who preceded him, the writer-reporter creates, or recreates, a range of characters that remain in the memory after reading. The range of feelings explored is that of all humanity, and for those who pay attention, it goes beyond urban limits and becomes Brazilian, universal. We can imagine similar scenes in Cape Town, London or Singapore, but the accent is unmistakable: we are reading an author who, even though he was born in Bahia, became a carioca through tumbles, sips, dribbles and laughter. And he manages, in thirty short stories, to synthesize Rio de Janeiro in the XNUMXst century, with all its pains, ailments and trickery. And a little bit of poetry because, despite everything, it's still sunny in Ipanema.

* Daniel Brazil is a writer, author of the novel suit of kings (Penalux), screenwriter and TV director, music and literary critic.



Louis Pimentel. It's still sunny in Ipanema. Rio de Janeiro, Faria e Silva, 2022, 150 pages.


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