From one of Granta's Best Young Brazilian Novelists comes a startling and powerful story about returning to one's origins in order to move forward. In Rio de Janeiro, a woman suffering from a mysterious illness, which is eroding her body and mind, decides to accept a challenge from her grandfather: to take the key to the house where he grew up - in the Turkish city of Smyrna - and open the door. As she embarks on this pilgrimage, she begins to write of her progress. The writing soon becomes an exploration of her family's legacy of displacement in Europe, told in several narrative strands. Sifting through family stories - her grandfather's migration from Turkey to Brazil, her parents' exile in Portugal under the Brazilian military dictatorship, her mother's death, and her own love affair with a violent man - she traces her family's history in a journey to make sense of the past and to understand her place in it. With an epic sweep of time and place - traversing Brazil, Turkey, and Portugal - this is a profoundly moving portrait of a young woman finding her way back into life.
Spare, heartfelt, and evocative, The House in Smyrna is an unforgettable story from one of the most accomplished and original new voices in Brazil.
Tatiana Salem Levy is a writer and translator. She was born in Lisbon and lives in Rio de Janeiro. In 2012 Granta named her one of the Best Young Brazilian Novelists, and her fiction, essays, and criticism have been published in Granta and online at The Paris Review. Levy holds a PhD in literature and has appeared at literary festivals around the world. The House in Smyrna is her first novel, and it won Brazil's largest award - the Sao Paulo Prize for Literature - for the best debut. It has been translated into French, Italian, Romanian, Spanish, and Turkish, and has sold more than 50,000 copies worldwide. Alison Entrekin has translated a number of works by Brazilian and Portuguese authors into English, including City of God by Paulo Lins and Budapest by Chico Buarque, which was shortlisted for the 2004 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in the United Kingdom. Originally from Australia, she now lives in Brazil.