Twelve days

Paul Klee, Sailing Boats, 1927


Commentary on Tiago Feijó's novel

Albert Camus said, in his work The Myth of Sisyphus, that there is only one truly serious philosophical problem: suicide. Whether life is worth living is, for the Algerian writer, a question arising from a reflection on the lack of control over destiny, on the social gears that determine and shape lives, on the ethical and moral shackles that imprison us.

The romance Twelve days, by Tiago Feijó, is not about suicide, but at various times it brings these issues to light. By delving into the difficult reunion between a son and a father who have not seen each other for fifteen years, in the ICU of a hospital, the author involves us in a time-space without defined contours, where the days vary in order and the facts little by little they reveal nuances about the characters.

What could result in a dark and masochistic drama is skillfully handled by Tiago Feijó. By introducing an old couple into the same ICU anteroom, who will interact with the father and son for a few days, he raises the possibility of happy lives, of hope for a cure, describing the simple-minded fervor of those who believe in miracles. A luminous counterpoint to the gray horizon in which the protagonists find themselves.

Other characters emerge from the shadows. The mother, separated from Mr. Raul for many years, and who raised her son Antônio practically alone (we assume). His half sister, who he barely knows, his father's second wife, who makes a fleeting appearance. The nurses, always efficient and insufficient. At some points, the narrative leaves the hospital and follows the son who returns to his now empty paternal house, in Lorena, to water the plants at his father's request.

The great character of Twelve days is the narrator. Omniscient, it dialogues with the reader, sometimes describing the mental state of the protagonists, sometimes anticipating actions that will only occur a few pages later. It lays bare Mr. Raul's dissolute life in detail, reveals his son's insecurities, and doesn't waste time in detailing the secondary characters.

Tiago Feijó masterfully controls all layers of the narrative, and delivers a beautiful novel where the reader will share a drama that is present in the lives of millions of people who feel, when approaching death, a natural compulsion to reevaluate their family ties, their emotional relationships , and also your own life. Without the intention of teaching lessons, but of making good literature.

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


Tiago Feijó. Twelve days. São Paulo, Penalux, 2022, 186 pages.

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