"Each of Fonseca's books is not only a worthwhile journey; it is also, in some way, a necessary one."Thomas Pynchon
Most widely admired for his short fiction, The Taker and Other Stories is Fonseca's first collection to appear in English translation, and it ranges across his oeuvre, exploring the sights and sounds of the modern landscape of Rio de Janeiro. Rubem Fonseca's Rio is a city at war, a city whose vast disparitiesin wealth, social standing, and prestigeare untenable. In the stories of The Taker, rich and poor live in an uneasy equilibrium, where only overwhelming force can maintain order, and violence and deception are essential tools of survival.
Whether recounting the story of a businessman who runs over pedestrians to let off steam, a serial killer being pushed to ever greater crimes by his bourgeois lover, the desperate poor rushing to butcher a cow that has been killed in a traffic accident, or a man seeking out confirmation for a past which his friends deny, Fonseca repeatedly reaffirms his status as one of the purest storytellers on the contemporary Brazilian literary scene.Rubem Fonseca is considered one of Brazil's most influential writers, and was awarded the Prémio Camõesconsidered the Nobel Prize of Portuguese language literaturefor his body of work in 2003. That same year he was awarded the Juan Rulfo Prize.
Clifford E. Landers has translated many of the great writers of Brazil, including Jorge Amado, João Ubaldo Ribeiro, Patricia Melo, Osman Lins, and Moacyr Scliar among others. He received the Mario Ferreira Award in 1999.
"The Taker is like a blast to the headhere is a dark, sinister Rio de Janeiro, populated by street urchins, stalkers and serial killers. What sort of urban hell have we stumbled into? ... Short, fragmented vignettes that ring with the hard-boiled edge of crime fiction."Anderson Tepper, Time Out New York
"Rubem Fonseca writes like the maniacal dreamchild of Cortazar and Bukowski. Crazed, ribald, and relentless, the stories in The Taker roam the streets of Rio like their disturbed characters, overwhelmed by the strangeness of life."Stewart O'Nan
"Fonseca's work confirms, in the final analysis, that as a writer he has gone where none have dared in Brazilian literature."World Literature Today
"[Fonseca's narratives] take advantage of and reinvent existing popular literary forms, such as the crime novel, but also the political, social, existential and erotic novel."2003 Juan Rulfo Prize Jury