I am extremely happy to be able to pass on a little of Fernando Sabino’s work through our next Aula Viva Workshop. He is a part of our formation as students, us, Brazilian children… what boy or girl in Brazil, at least from the 80’s generation, didn’t read O Menino no Espelho (The Boy in the Mirror)?
This is a delicious story that I have never forgotten. It talks about this little boy, Fernando, and his adventures with the boy he always sees in the mirror. According to him, the boy in the mirror is called Odnanref (Fernando read backwards) and his best friend, Anairam (Mariana read backwards). I don’t remember a lot more about the story itself, but I know this is when I started going up and around telling my name backwards… and to this day I have the habit of figuring people’s names this way: Trebor is my husband, Anaicul my partner in Aula Viva, Adiragram is my mom, and so it goes…
Fernando Tavares Sabino was born in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, in October 12, 1923, Children’s Day in Brazil. His first literary attempts were influenced by the adventure books he was always reading, mainly Karl May’s Winnetou, and the police novels from Edgar Wallace, Sax Rohmer, and Conan Doyle, among others.
After entering law school and starting to live together with many writers, he gathers his first short stories in the book Os Grilos não Cantam Mais (The Crickets don’t Sing Anymore), published in Rio de Janeiro with his own funds. Sabino receives good reviews on the book and, along with them, a letter by great Brazilian writer Mário de Andrade, and a great relationship begins, very valuable for his career as a writer.
In 1946, he graduates in law school and goes, with Vinicius de Moraes, to the United States where he works in the Commercial Office of Brazil and then in the Brazilian Consulate. He lives in New York and, later on, publishes a book, A Cidade Vazia (The Empty City) with chronicles and articles about his experience abroad (one interesting, random observation about the name Vinicius here: it is normally writen with an accent in the second i (Vinícius). But it seems in the case of our poet, the name doesn’t carrie the usual accent).
Fernando Sabino reached national and international success in 1956 with the novel Encontro Marcado (A Time to Meet), the story of three friends in the city of Belo Horizonte. The book was inspired by Sabino’s life history. He also enjoyed commercial success with O Grande Mentecapto (The Great Insane) and O Homem Nu (The Naked Man), which were made into films. He wrote 50 books and many short stories and essays.
Sabino considered friendship to be one of the most important things in life. His circle of friends included Hélio Pellegrino, Otto Lara Resende, Paulo Mendes Campos, Rubem Braga, Clarice Lispector, Vinicius de Moraes, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Mário de Andrade, and Manuel Bandeira, many of which you have heard about, and will certainly have contact with, in future Aula Viva workshops.
The author passed away in October 11th, 2004, in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Attending his wish, his epitaph says:
Aqui jaz Fernando Sabino, que nasceu homem e morreu menino.
(Here rests Fernando Sabino, who was born a man and died a boy.)
I can’t wait to see you in September 4th at our Aula Viva Workshop!! There you will dive into one of Sabino’s most famous stories, learn lots of Portuguese and have a ton of fun.
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