Pitch Black

Photo by Karrie Nodalo (via Flickr)

Photo by Karrie Nodalo (via Flickr)

Early that morning, the sound of a radio came from the house next door, signalling that Senhor Sousa was now sat on his moth-eaten leather armchair in the living room still dressed in his striped pyjamas, his beard unkempt. As usual his eyes were fixed on an invisible object located slightly above people’s heads. The radio would stay on all day, letting her know that he was there, stationary, unmoved by the blue sky and the bougainvillea that had yielded an abundance of red flowers at the entrance.

From time to time, her mum would send her over to her neighbour’s house. She enjoyed these visits, despite being filled with cold fear on each occasion. Dona Jorgina would always offer her a piece of cake but her main thought was to see Senhor Sousa.

“Marisa’s daughter is here,” Dona Jorgina informed her husband.

He was locked away in his world of darkness, indifferent to her and everything that wasn’t the radio. His wife pressed further.

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Translated by Gitanjali Patel.

Gitanjali Patel has a degree in Spanish and Portuguese from Oxford University. She has lived in Rio de Janeiro, where she worked for UNICEF and translated for authors such as the novela writer Gisele Joras. She is currently in London, working as a researcher on Latin America.

Miriam Mambrini is a carioca (ie born in Rio). She began to write fiction fairly late but has now published eight books, including a number of short story collections. She has also contributed to the seminal anthologies Contos de escritoras brasileiras (‘Stories by Brazilian women writers’, Martins Fontes, 2003) and Mulheres que estão fazendo a nova literatura brasileira (‘Women who are writing the new Brazilian literature’ Record, 2005).

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