Rights offering detail :
Aug. 29, 2019
Manoel Carlos Karam
Fiction: General/Other
“In short: it was the war between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness, all of them Sons-of- Bitches.”

So, goes the first entry of Manoel Carlos Karam’s “Journal of the War Against the Taedos” (Kafka Ediçoes, 2008, Brazil). What follows are a series of similarly biting journal entries detailing a war between “us” and “them” – those Taedos who could be anyone, anywhere, at any time. As such, there is no traditional plot to the “Taedos” tale, but pick any real-world conflict and you can make a strong case that this book is a fictional version of it. The book treats its readers to a series of vignettes that flesh out a conflict between neighboring countries. Much like in real war, the soldiers obey orders they don’t quite understand for purposes that only higher ups can (but don’t) tell. These vignettes are mixed in with snippets of propaganda, depositions from spies and historians, defections and battle schemes, all dutifully chronicled by the “journal writer” narrator. However even this assiduous writer is incapable of telling us what is so terrible about the “Taedos” that would put us at constant war with them. As our narrators tells us towards the end:

“This note on politics is necessary so that no one, in reading this journal that mentions kings, queens and presidents, might think the Historian is confused. The confusion, in this case, belongs to History.”
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All except Portuguese
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Manoel Carlos Karam was born in the town of Rio do Sul in 1947 and moved to Curitiba, in southern Brazil, at the age of 19. It was there that he made his career as a journalist and playwright, eventually retiring from both professions so he could focus on writing fiction. Before his death, in 2007, he published seven books, wrote twenty plays and became one of the most beloved figures of the city’s artistic scene. At once both ironic – the good kind of irony that denotes a sharp mind behind it – and absurd, Karam’s works call to mind playwrights like Ionesco, Stoppard and Pirandello at their best and could be likened to “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead” or “Six Characters In Search of an Author”
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