Diary of the Fall
2016 Shortlist

Diary of the Fall

Translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa
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ABOUT
THE BOOK

‘I often dreamed about the moment of the fall, a silence that lasted a second, possibly two, a room full of sixty people and no one making a sound, as if everyone were waiting for my classmate to cry out … but he lay on the ground with his eyes closed’

A schoolboy prank goes horribly wrong, and a thirteen-year-old boy is left injured. Years later, one of the classmates relives the episode as he tries to come to terms with his demons.

Diary of the Fall is the story of three generations: a man examining the mistakes of his past, and his struggle for forgiveness; a father with Alzheimer’s, for whom recording every memory has become an obsession; and a grandfather who survived Auschwitz, filling notebook after notebook with the false memories of someone desperate to forget.

Michel Laub’s novel asks the most basic – and yet most complex – questions about history and identity, exploring what stories we choose to tell about ourselves and how we become the people we are.

Judges’ comments

A man faces the remorse of a cowardly act from his past and recalls, at the same time, the history of his father with Alzheimer’s and his grandfather who survived Auschwitz. Diary of the fall is a supreme exploration of memory as a punishment, as a torture, as a longing, as a cultural imposition, as an imperative, as madness. A novel that reveals the repercussions of the Holocaust in the intimate life of a Brazilian family. A beatiful miniature built by an artist of the fragment.

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Michel
Laub

Michel Laub was born in Porto Alegre and currently lives in Sao Paulo. He is a writer and journalist and was named one of Granta’s twenty Best of Young Brazilian Novelists. Diary of the Fall, which received the Brasilia Award, was his first novel to appear in English. It won the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prize 2015 and was shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award 2016.

Michel Laub was born in Porto Alegre and currently lives in Sao Paulo. He is a writer and journalist and was named one of Granta’s twenty Best of Young Brazilian Novelists. Diary of the Fall, which received the Brasilia Award, was his first novel to appear in English. It won the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prize 2015 and was shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award 2016.

ABOUT
THE TRANSLATOR Margaret
Jull Costa

Margaret Elisabeth Jull Costa (born 2 May 1949) is a British translator of Portuguese- and Spanish-language fiction and poetry, including the works of Nobel Prize winner José Saramago, Eça de Queiroz, Fernando Pessoa, Paulo Coelho, Bernardo Atxaga, Carmen Martín Gaite, Javier Marías, and José Régio. She has won the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize more times than any other translator.

Margaret Elisabeth Jull Costa (born 2 May 1949) is a British translator of Portuguese- and Spanish-language fiction and poetry, including the works of Nobel Prize winner José Saramago, Eça de Queiroz, Fernando Pessoa, Paulo Coelho, Bernardo Atxaga, Carmen Martín Gaite, Javier Marías, and José Régio. She has won the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize more times than any other translator.

NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS

Diary of a Fall evokes key moments in the narrator’s life, connecting them to deeper questions such as rememberance, guilt, oblivion, fundamental human condition issues. Michel Laub uses words and sentences to make this book achieve a rare degree of literary excellence in a simple but effective prose. A courageous and honest novel of a great writer, Laub was named one of Granta’s twenty Best Young Brazilian Novelists in 2012.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
16/04/2015
Country
Brazil
Original Language
Portuguese
Author
Publisher
Harvill Secker
Translator
Margaret Jull Costa
Translation
Translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa

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