Pedro Sussekind

Pedro Süssekind Viveiros de Castro is a Brazilian writer and academic. He is currently Professor of Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art at the Philosophy Department of the Universidade Federal Fluminense, in Rio de Janeiro. He completed his Ph.D. in Philosophy at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in 2005 after a period of research in Comparative Literature at the Freie Universität in Berlin. His many publications include the short story collection Litoral (Coast) (7letras, 2004), and contributions to Paralelos, 17 contos da nova literatura brasileira (Paralelos, 17 short stories of the new Brazilian literature) (Agir, 2004), Dentro de um livro (Within a book) (Casa da Palavra, 2005), Contos sobre tela (Tales on canvas) (Pinakotheke, 2005) and Rio Literário:
Um guia apaixonado da cidade do Rio de Janeiro (Literary Rio: A passionate guide to the city of Rio de Janeiro) (2005). He received a grant from Petrobras Cultural (2008-2009) which led to the publication of his novel Triz (Narrow) (Editora 34) in 2011. He has also published three nonfiction books: Shakespeare, o Gênio Original (Shakespeare, the Original Genius) (Zahar, 2008), Teoria do Fim da Arte (Theory of the End of Art) (7letras, 2017), and, more recently, Hamlet e a Filosofia (Hamlet and Philosophy) (7letras, 2021).
Amnesty is a Bildungsroman that uses a classical theme in the very origins of Western literature, memory and forgetfulness, present in Homer’s Odyssey: the absence of an estranged father whose story must be uncovered, retold, and salvaged from a sea of oblivion. It explores the sources of the current Brazilian political situation by telling the story of a son who, in 1979, must go on a search for his father, one of the missing activists in the hands of the militaries during the darkest years of the dictatorship. In the novel, protagonist Emilio is a History student who, like Telemachus in the Odyssey, learns that his father may still be alive. He then sets off to learn about him from his old comrades who are returning from exile. At the same time, he must help his best friend, Lucio, who lives in a favela and whose brother is in hospital, after being shot in what seems an act of revenge.
Emilio’s journey happens in the months leading up to the passing of the Amnesty Act, a milestone in Brazil’s return to democracy. His mother, a modern iteration of Penelope, owns a fashion studio and considers remarrying. His father had taken part in the armed struggle in Rio de Janeiro until 1969, when Emilio was still an infant. Gradually the events that led up to his disappearance are uncovered, but end up revealing unexpected connexions to the assault suffered by Lucio’s brother, so that the past re-emerges as a present threat.

Publication/Status: Published by Harper Collins (Brazil) in September 2022. [176 pages]