With her debut novel “Ruína y Leveza”, Julia Dantas was a finalist for the São Paulo Prize for Literature in 2016.
By Gabriel Pinheiro | Literature columnist
Her name is Rudolph.the second novel Julia DantasIt starts with a stuck door. Morello insists, but the entrance to the newly rented apartment does not give way. Thus, the man gives up and resumes the hard struggle against the lock several times. He believes that he has fallen for a scam, after all, he has rented a house to a stranger, without any face-to-face meeting, contract or guarantee. On the last try, the key turns and the door opens. What he didn’t expect was to find another inhabitant inside: a turtle.
The turtle’s name is Rodolfo, to whom does he belong – or does he? Not known – to the owner of the rented apartment. “He is trying to understand what prompted a person to choose such a strange thing as a pet: you can’t pet him, he doesn’t protect the house, he doesn’t warm your feet.” Rodolfo is the key to Morello to start a curious dialogue with his mysterious video store, Francesca. Her name is Rudolph. Released by db publisher.
The beginning of a long conversation
What an exciting joy to receive your letter. I was very worried about Rodolfo. I had to abandon him under the harshest conditions, and I was afraid that he would learn to fend for himself. ”
Morello and Francesca then start a long email exchange about the tortoise. But not only. The woman points out to her tenant a series of addresses in Porto Alegre, inhabited by gorgeous characters, in the hope that one of them will accept Rodolfo’s patronage. With each rejection, Morello becomes more attached to the tortoise—its straight line, the speed of its step that can sometimes be surprising, and the fact that, he believes, the animal appears to react when called. The name.
As he relates to the little being, he also seems to be communicating more and more with Francesca. In the exchange of letters, the woman does not say anything about herself. Morello knows nothing about her or her whereabouts – he says he travels. Always covered in a veil of mystery, intertwined with a vocabulary that, at times, seems to belong to another era. But his messages always seem to suggest a reflection on the recipient: Morello is engaged in this game.
Reading the short stories Francesca tells – novels charged with a desire for life and a poetic look at the world he is observing – Murillo begins to look inside himself. Reflecting on his own experiences, the pent-up pains in the deepest part of the self and the traumas of affectionate relationships that followed him there: with his parents, with his sister and with his ex-girlfriend, accusing him of being hypersensitive, to whom he nurtures a desire for reconciliation – “Sometimes she looks like a little woman.”
Julia Dantas builds an intriguing character in Francesca, a Scheherazade who speaks more about others than about herself, which hypnotizes and charms the character and the reader. Little by little, we’ve put together the brief pieces of the puzzle of her existence that she drops here and there. “Who is this woman telling you about hunters and baking recipes? You searched for Francesca Ramos on all social media, but you didn’t find anyone who could be her. How does one subtly disappear?”
If the tortoise shell is hard, then the shells of existence are characterized by fractures, cuts – some still open, others poorly healed over time, are solid. Giulia Dantas says, sensitive to touch Her name is Rudolph. About the emotions and traumas that make up an object. In a very sincere gesture, she also reflects on the meanings of being a man and being a woman, and above all, of discovering that the armor of sex that, at times, seems to imprison us, can be impenetrable.
Search here for “She’s called Rodolfo”
Gabriel Pinheiro A journalist and cultural producer, he always spends half of his lunch break reading a book. Your Instagram is Tweet embed