José Almeida Júnior

José Almeida Júnior is a writer and also a public defender in the Federal District of Brazil. The Last Hour (Última hora), his literary debut, won the Sesc Prize for Literature and was among the finalists of the Jabuti Award and the São Paulo Prize for Literature.
The book was a major success, having its first edition sold out after three months from its release and having been highly praised by the critics.
Starting from obscure points which have never been revealed in Machado de Assis’s life, the author constructs the fiction of a possible biography to the Wizard of Cosme Velho based on research. The starting point for the narrative is Pedro Junqueira’s point of view, a fictional character. He meets Machado in his childhood. When he was six years old, after his mother’s death, he arrives at the house in Morro do Livramento to live with his aunt, Dona Maria José. Soon the child has disagreements with Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, whom he hates and envies since they have first met, and these feelings will follow him throughout his life. In his youth, Pedro leaves to study in Portugal, where he meets Carolina Novaes and starts a relationship with her.
However, Carolina gets pregnant and Pedro leaves her. Disappointed, she has a miscarriage and travels to Brazil escorted by Artur Napoleão. Pedro reencounters Carolina in a soirée in celebration of the approval of the Law of the Free Womb. He discovers that she was married to the man whom he disliked in his childhood and tries to end their marriage, but the conflicts between Pedro Junqueira and Machado de Assis go way beyond Carolina, also involving literature and politics.

Publication/status: Published by Faro (Brazil) in June 2019. [260 pages].