pending razors

LEDA CATUNDA, Skate II, 2010, acrylic on canvas and fabric, 194x297cm.


Commentary on the novel by Paulo Rosenbaum

in the plot of pending razors, a novel by Paulo Rosenbaum (Caravana), Homero Arp Montefiore works for the publisher Filamentos, which is incorporated by the Dutch company Forster Inc, achieving overwhelming success in the sale of its products. He suspects that something out of order is happening at the publishing house.

The concepts of plagiarism and originality, debatable since the beginning of literary creation, as well as the current production of best sellers, permeate the discussions of this novel, which presents elements of the police genre that mix with aspects of science fiction. The fact that the writer is also a doctor certainly contributed to the exposition of situations and concepts related to science.

During the course of the investigations, the narrator realizes that they are capable of provoking real dangers – which even oblige him to put into practice an escape plan – and imaginary ones, which are manifested in his intercurrent delusions.

Homero Montefiore is attracted by the mystery surrounding the name of Karel F., who signs the greatest best sellers by Filamentos. An author (or author) refractory to interviews, who never appears in public. Says the narrator: “I knew that Karel was a recluse, considered aloof, capricious and, according to the mythology of the publisher, one of the most difficult people who had ever edited with us” (p. 92). So far, nothing out of the ordinary. What publishers really want is to find that author capable of raising the sales of their books to the heights.

However, here we enter the list of questions: what if this author is a fraud?

For now, something more about the identity of this mysterious author, only reading the novel can unravel. But we can still advance some news about the narrator who, systematically, gets involved in a dangerous plot that he can't get out of. His intuition told him that a man would not be able to write in that way, in that style, to the point of reaching completeness.

It turns out, however, that Homer does not consider himself, as he himself reports, a physically or mentally healthy person. From a very young age, his family looked to doctors for explanations for his condition. His entire body showed certain non-conformities, which became evident when he received the generic diagnosis of those who had those characteristics: “they are people who have a unique facial symmetry, show few apparent signs of aging and are considered – you may find the term strange – pathologically beautiful; unfortunately, they also have a large trunk and extremities and are slightly asymmetrical” (p. 43). Homer was very impressed by the expression “pathologically beautiful”.

His vacillating mental state promotes a sensation of unreality in the narrative, even when he is facing facts that would be lived concretely. “I live in a labyrinth of ideas, like those shipwrecked messages scattered in bottles, which float in oceans that never talk. Since then, my mission has been to justify my survival in this world” (p. 28).

In the chapter “Incident”, which opens the novel, he cannot come up with a reasonable explanation for the blood that drains from his body and reaches the kitchen, in the conversation he establishes with the interlocutor he asked for help.

The investigation triggered by Homero places him as a suspect. He accepts this condition by commenting that before he believed in the law, in social pacts and in the judgments of society, but, in his current state, this belief has disappeared. And he concludes: “There are those who associate this self-indulgence in criminal matters with traits of psychopathy” (p. 179).

Otherwise, everything may be nothing more than the delusions of the narrator who states: “Conspiracy theories cannot occupy even one more second of my time” (p. 181). However, not everything is so certain in this fiction, after all, it is a genre that offers its authors wide possibilities for creation, whether within reality or outside of it.

It is not possible to ignore the fact that the narrator of pending razors finds in the episodes that it proposes to investigate, the foundations of Artificial Intelligence. In a secret room at the publishing house, a contraption recycles the rejected originals. Some of these authors came to realize the fraud, but never proved it. “Forster's algorithm prevented identical text from occurring” (311). There is a good deal of nonsense in imagining that best sellers are produced in this way.

Pay attention to the fact that the character has the same name as the author of the Odyssey, Greek epic poem (approx. XNUMXth century BC), which refers to intertextuality, with the exception that this concept describes the relationship established between two or more texts.

Homero is involved in several other episodes considered crimes, by justice, or, at least, unethical, attributed to pressures related to his work. As in other circumstances, his delusions always lead him to self-condemnation.

On the book tab, Lyslei Nascimento observes that pending razors it is, above all, a trap. “The plot puts the sanity of the narrator and the linearity of the story into perspective. Plot, illusion and farce make the plot a labyrinth and multiply unstable realities or existential fantasies of a protagonist who, apparently, does not deserve much credibility”.

Paulo Rosenbaum was born in São Paulo, in 1959. He is a physician and writer. He has published several books on Preventive Medicine, his area of ​​expertise. Before pending razors, published the novels The truth cast to the ground (Record, 2010) and underground sky (Perspective, 2016).

*Marcio Salgado is a journalist and writer. Author, among other books, of the novel The Desert Philosophermultifocus).


Paul Rosenbaum. pending razors. Belo Horizonte, Caravana Grupo Editorial, 2021, 342 pages (

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