“If anyone might be profitably compared to Clarice Lispector, it might well be Maria Gabriela Llansol. This is because of the fundamentally mystical impulse that animates them both, their conception of writing as a sacred act, a prayer: their idea that it was through writing that a person can reach 'the core of being.'” — Benjamin Moser, author of Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector
"Llansol's text . . . creates spaces where conjecture and counterfactual accounts operate freelygranting a glimpse of an alternative reality." Claire Williams, The Guardian
Geography of Rebels presents the English debut of three linked novellas from influential Portuguese writer Maria Gabriela Llansol. With echoes of Clarice Lispector, Llansol's novellas evoke her vision of writing as life, conjuring historical figures and weaving together history, poetry, and philosophy in a transcendent journey through one of Portugal's greatest creative minds.
Maria Gabriela Llansol (1931-2008) is one of the preeminent Portuguese writers of the 20th century, twice awarded the prize for best novel from the Portuguese Writers' Association.
“Imagine Clarice Lispector speaking with specters. Imagine Emily Dickinson seeking and finding a community. Imagine Hilda Hilst rebelling further into the madding crowd. Imagine Virginia Woolf as a Lisbon-born medium channeling displaced waves of consciousness. Imagine Fernando Pessoa as a woman building edenic spaces outside of our time-space continuum. If you can imagine some amalgamation of these descriptors, you may come close to conjuring up the writings of Maria Gabriela Llansol, but you can never quite know their protean beauty until you have entered these textual landscapes for yourself, and discovered the alternate realities they open up, where time feels simultaneously historical and ahistorical, and space simultaneously geographical and ageographical. We are fortunate that Audrey Young has translated Llansol’s Geography of Rebels Trilogy into English for the first time. Now we no longer have an excuse to overlook Llansol’s idiosyncratic genius.” — Tyler Malone, Literary Hub
"This is an astonishing, otherworldly and utterly original book, and it reveals Llansol as one of the most fascinating Portuguese writers of the twentieth century." — Annie McDermott, Times Literary Supplement
“I am intrigued and mesmerized by Llansol’s prose, her mysterious and beautiful sentences that push the novel beyond its usual constraints, and, at times, approach prose poetry. Like Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, Llansol’s method is a radical one and, for those readers who like to be challenged, worth checking out.” — Gary Michael Perry, Foyles Charing Cross Staff Pick (London, UK)"Reading Geography of Rebels is an unforgettable experience. Llansol’s hallucinatory prose is genuinely transfixing." — Joshua Tait, The Carolina Quarterly
"Her idiosyncratic, highly creative texts reached beyond conventional "figurative" writing. . . . In particular, her narrators function almost as a medium, or channel, for a series of fluctuating identities and voices or visitors (figures) who inhabit her consciousness and engage in discussion among themselves. Llansol's text also creates spaces where conjecture and counterfactual accounts operate freely - granting a glimpse of an alternative reality. She created iconoclastic, anti-nationalist texts that deflated mythical figures and representations of the past. She stressed Europe's evolution through the growth of free will, free thought and flourishing artistic and scientific developments." — Claire Williams, The Guardian
"A commotion of a novel. With abrupt sentences and a narrative that darts, swerves, and veers, it is a perplexing read, but in a way that innervates, rather than discourages.” — Benjamin, Librarie Drawn & Quarterly (Montreal, QC)
"Intense and sublime." — José Manuel Barroso, former president of the European Commission
“Abstract, speculative thought, difficult in its way, but Maria Gabriela Llansol makes it sing.” — Anthony Brown, Times Flow Stemmed
“Her figures are subjected to deformations and subject to a series of precise sensations. It is the precision of thought that gives her story clarity and makes it a container for speculative questions about the nature of writing and close reading. I found reading The Book of Communities an intensely felt experience, nervous as much as cerebral. It is a lived experience of Merleau-Ponty’s essay on language not residing purely in the brain, but being something we do with our bodies, words are “a certain use made of my phonatory equipment, a certain modulation of my body as a being in the world.” In that sense, like poetry, it is a book that benefits by being read aloud, playing with the elisions and sound structures. Its translator, Audrey Young, from what I can tell from comparing its original online, has done an outstanding job of retaining its rich tone and rhythm.”Times Flow Stemmed