Diary of the Fall (Hardcover)

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Diary of the Fall By Michel Laub, Margaret Jull Costa (Translator) Cover Image
By Michel Laub, Margaret Jull Costa (Translator)

Staff Reviews

DIARY OF THE FALL is an example of what great literature can do: make the personal universal, and in so doing reveal new corners of human experience. Told in first person, the narrator looks back at a cruel prank he and his friends pulled on the one non-Jewish student at a Jewish school in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The prank, though unkind, isn’t atrocious; it’s simply a mean stunt pulled by children who later feel ashamed about it.

The prank sparks the narrator’s recognition that his own father, now diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and his grandfather, an Auschwitz survivor, were once boys like himself. This single incident in narrator’s past becomes the catalyst for studying a family history, and a mirror on the 20th century. The son, like father, like grandfather, cannot escape history or his own DNA. He belongs to a family of men obsessively documenting their past, even as their futures collapse.

In one small book, DIARY OF THE FALL speaks of tradition, human cruelty, the Holocaust, immigration, the bond between fathers and sons, and how the past is never quite finished with us. It perfectly blends both style and content in unadorned and elegant writing, translated from the Portuguese by the esteemed Margaret Jull Costa. This book has stayed with me for weeks, and I hope it's only the first of Laub's books to be translated into English.

— From Diary of the Fall (Michel Laub)

September 2014 Indie Next List

“This novel is an emotional hand grenade, one of the most devastating and powerful works I've read in some time. As Laub's narrator traces his own downfall and delves into the trauma that ripples through his family history, I found myself propelled forward and backward with him, unable to resist this small novel's terrible gravity or the narrator's powerful honesty. Diary of the Fall is one of those rare books that doesn't just hold your attention, it demands it. I simply couldn't stop reading.”
— Tom Flynn, 57th Street Books, Chicago, IL


From one ofGranta's Best Young Brazilian Novelists, a literary masterpiece that will break your heart

At the narrator's elite Jewish school in a posh suburb of Porte Alegre, a cruel prank leaves the only Catholic student there terribly injured. Years later, he relives the episode as he examines the mistakes of his past and struggles for forgiveness. His father, who has Alzheimer's, obsessively records every memory that comes to mind, and his grandfather, who survived Auschwitz, fills notebook after notebook with the false memories of someone desperate to forget.
This powerful novel centered on guilt and the complicated legacy of history asks provocative questions about what it means to be Jewish in the twenty-first century.

About the Author

Michel Laub was born in Porto Alegre and currently lives in Sao Paulo. He is a writer, journalist, and the author of five novels. DIARY OF THE FALL is his first to be published in English, and has won the Brasilia Award and the Bravo!/Bradesco Prize. Michel was named one of Granta's twenty Best Young Brazilian Novelists in 2012. Margaret Jull Costa has been a literary translator for over twenty-five years and has translated many novels and short stories by Portuguese, Spanish, and Latin American writers, including Javier Marias, Fernando Pessoa, Jose Saramago, Bernardo Atxaga and Ramon del Valle-Inclan. She has won various prizes for her work, including, in 2008, the PEN Book-of-the-Month Translation Award and the Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize for her version of Eca de Queiroz's masterpiece The Maias, and, most recently, the 2011 Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize for The Elephant's Journey by Jose Saramago. She lives in Leicester, England. The author lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil."

Praise For…

“Michel Laub has constructed a painful, relentless and ultimately beautiful portrait of three generations, whose stories, told in parallel, culminate in the most innocent and surprising expression of love. A rewarding and excellent read.” —Martin Fletcher, author of Walking Israel, winner of the National Jewish Book Award

Product Details
ISBN: 9781590516515
ISBN-10: 1590516516
Publisher: Other Press (NY)
Publication Date: August 26th, 2014
Pages: 225
Language: English