usufruct of demons

Image: Bankski


Commentary on the book by Whisner Fraga

Since the advent of literature beat, in a more programmatic way, and even in some isolated precursors, the intertwined writing of prose and poetry appearing to be verbal delusions, but based on the observation of reality, outlined a new literary aesthetic.

The epigones of the genre fall short, in general, by succumbing to an exploration of apparently innovative sounds and meanings, with much more personal than social resonances. They explore, grope, amalgamate language, but many times they look like drunks talking to their own navel. They use spectacular images, eventually even beautiful, but with an obscure meaning, which do not dialogue with the writing as a whole or with its time-space. A little nugget for a lot of gravel.

Some antics are so recurrent that they get tired. The use of & instead of e, the writing without punctuation or apparent logic. Rare are the writers who appropriate the richness that a libertarian writing allows without losing sight of the actual world, the social dimension, and, above all, the reader. Whisner Fraga is one of those.

usufruct of demons is a collection of short and sharp texts by the novelist and short story writer from Minas Gerais. Cultivator of blunt images and unusual adjectives, Fraga is kind enough to allow the reader, at all times, to establish connections with real life. Written under the impact of the pandemic, but expanding its vision to other episodes, the book can be read as a series of reflections matured during the tragic period.

But it's not just about that. The small texts (few exceed one page) slowly weave a web of meanings and characters that are delineated in the apparent chaos. The interlocutor Helena (Whisner Fraga does not use capital letters in her writing) appears at the beginning, and returns at various times. It can even be assumed that the author dialogues with a Hellenistic ideal of civilization while recounting the hardships of the plague, but this symbolism disappears in the following texts, when he begins to report the relationship with the child, the daughter. Whisner Fraga is talking about people, tangible people.

The author describes, in a very original way, the collapse of institutions, relationships, the foundations of a world in disequilibrium. Fictitious security, frayed employment, the coldness of statistics, the inhumanity of commercial medicine, the ruin of a Brazil flirting with fascism, the ineffectiveness of collective movements in the face of the perversity of the system.

All this emerges through an extremely crafted writing, which expands the universe of meanings through fragments where moments of intense imagery and drama shine.

“An ox howls the truce

It's the sixth in line and still three more hours for the truck to park: the driver will open the trunk, as the mother, in childhood, would unroll the fringes of the window, when a blue scent moved through the brothers' nostrils, distracted like him, perhaps wanderers like him, the ones that were left, would any be there, in that vastness of rags sinuously lined up behind him? , you can't find out, it's not worth the risk of losing your place, in a little while the roar of the diesel will stop a few meters away, and you can dream of dinner, lunch, the man turns off the engine, gets out, searches the load; it won't be enough for everyone, but it's necessary to start: a bone for everyone.”

Whisner Fraga, author of several works, is also a dedicated promoter of contemporary Brazilian literature, maintaining a YouTube channel (Acontece nos Livros), where he comments on new and classic authors. In other words, a writer who reads a lot, a more civilized gesture than writing, as Jorge Luis Borges said. That alone sets him apart from the crowd of individualists he writes for himself or, at most, for his small group. And his provocative talent proves to be essential in a “time of broken men” like Brazil in 2022, devastated territory that has become the usufruct of demons, and that we need to recover.

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


Whisner Fraga. usufruct of demons. Campinas, Land Offices, 2022.

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