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Glory and Its Litany of Horrors - Fernanda Torres Summary
From Fernanda Torres, the celebrated Brazilian actress and bestselling author of The End, comes a riotous tragicomedy of a famed actor’s path from national sex symbol to cult icon to raving madman after a disastrous performance as King Lear. Mario Cardoso’s meteoric rise to fame begins in the early sixties, when the promise of sex and revolution permeates the Rio air. But as he conquers the stage, arthouse cinema, and primetime TV, the fever and the decadence of stardom take their toll, and middle-aged Mario finds himself with an ebbing reputation, hairline, and bank account. He needs a royal comeback. Enter King Lear. Mario’s turn as Shakespeare’s mad monarch goes well until he’s overtaken by a fit of laughter that gets more demented with each performance. Forced to cancel the show, he’s confronted with his mother’s unstaged madness—she’s now convinced that Mario is in fact her long-departed husband. Broke and desperate, Mario signs on for an evangelical network production: Sodoma. Yet, as low as he’s fallen, Mario’s final set is one he never imagined. With the wicked humor and fleet-footed pace that made her novel The End a runaway bestseller in Brazil, Fernanda Torres’s Glory and its Litany of Horrors is a razor-sharp take on the uneasy marriage of Art and the marketplace, and on the profession of acting in all its horror and glory. Praise for The End: “The End, a riotous, sex-stuffed novel by Torres, which takes Technicolor pleasure in detailing the deaths of five incorrigible old beach bums of the Bossa Nova generation…. Her five men, whom she kills off in reverse chronology, are ‘united by male allegiance, women, and the beach, in that order’.... With America undergoing a mass reckoning with male sexuality, a novel like this feels both taboo and gleeful, a guilty kind of reprieve.” —Hermione Hoby, The New Yorker “The intense but tenuous bonds of male friendship give shape and structure to this energetic, impressive debut from acclaimed Brazilian actress Torres. Set against the vivid backdrop of Copacabana, the episodic novel follows five contentious and devoted friends—Ciro, Silvio, Neto, Alvaro, and Ribeiro—from the hedonistic nights of their youth to the humbling days of old age. Beginning with the violent death of Alvaro, the group’s last surviving member, the story meticulously works it way back through the complicated lives of each friend, culminating with the operatic death of Ciro, who retains a spark of youth until his last moments. Torres paints a sharp, intimate portrait of male sexuality and psychology (including the experience of aging), illuminating the friends’ profound differences (such as between the decadent Silvio and the meeker Ribeiro) while never undermining the believability of their connection. As assured as the characterizations of the central characters are the investigations of the men and women who surround them, the wives who abide their exploits and the priests who speak at their funerals. The narration and momentum remain lively and sharp throughout.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review “Set in Rio de Janeiro, this fine literary debut from one of Brazil’s most distinguished actors tells the stories of five men as they approach their inevitable (and in some cases premature) ends. By turns tragic and hilarious, the novel is about friendship, betrayal and excess, and about male fury against the ravages of old age.” —Angel Gurría-Quintana, Financial Times “The End is the perfect summer release. Torres creates an aging, male Carioca friend group that is a mess of cynicism, nostalgia, frustration, and a seemingly unending appetite for sex. This book is raunchy, sophisticated, and so wonderfully Brazilian. I devoured this book in one sitting. Parabens Fernanda!!!” —Daniela Roger, Books & Books (Coral Gables, FL) "The year of 2013 would have been worth it for Fernanda Torres' novel alone. How beautiful it is to see an authentic literary talent emerge so clearly…. In her debut The End, she goes beyond just being a good writer. Her tone is so well crafted." —Caetano Veloso “You think you see The End coming—or the ending coming—but Fernanda Torres has other plans for you on this journey. Torres presents five friends—fairly flawed, tragic clowns—and their views on life and those around them as they try to navigate their lives and deaths. This novel is a funny, smart, well conceived, and perfectly executed playful look at mortality.” —Nick Buzanski, Book Culture (New York, NY) “Famed actress Fernanda Torres’s debut novel, The End, is a brutally unflinching look at the lifelong friendships of five aging male friends and the women in their lives.… [Torres has an] agile hand at establishing voice, pacing, and tone. Hers is strong, economical prose.… The machismo of each character is impressively rendered.… The End is vivid and irascible as it confronts the reality of aging, regrets, and death.” —Monica Carter, Foreword Reviews, Five-Heart Review “Torres’ writing [has] flair and wit… [an] unforgiving portrait of men at their worst.” —Kirkus.