‘Granta’: New Book Presents The Best Young Brazilian Novelists

Here we present the Online Edition of The Best of Young Brazilian Novelists with the first two in a series of eight dispatches from an alien ambassador to Brazil back to his home planet, by Juan Pablo Villalobos.


Juan Pablo Villalobos

OK, guys, before beginning, here is a very important thing you should know about Brazil: the people here don’t speak Spanish. The Brazilian taxi-man said to me: what the hell are you talking? Are you Argentinian? And why are you so . . . green? This was the moment I learned another very-important-thing about this place: in Brazil it is crucial not to be Argentinian. Add that to our Earth mission’s proceedings manual under the topic ‘Cultural Affairs’.

I arrived at the European Space Operations Centre at Darmstadt, Germany on schedule but the problem was getting to Brazil by the train to Frankfurt and then the flight to Lisbon and then the Portuguese people and then the flight connection to Brasilia and then the Brazilian taxi man that slapped my face because of my perfect Argentinian Spanish. But then yes I arrived yesterday night to our Operations Centre in Brasilia, I mean: at my room in the hotels sector.

Brasilia is just like the cities on our Planet: there is a huge sky (but blue, of course) and a lot of steam clouds and big asphalt avenues dedicated to the transport of the humans, who remain trapped in vehicles most of the day. The city, like ours, is under the ground. At least that is my conclusion, because last night, travelling from the airport to the hotel there was no city over the surface of the Earth. There are these buildings like ours but they seem to be dedicated to governmental affairs and not to living humans.

Wait a minute: humans are knocking at the Operations Centre door.

OK, guys, this is interesting: the city is there, the Brazilian man who wanted to change the sheets of my bed just told me that. I asked if the city was under the ground and he looked at me with a strange face (but different to the face of the taxi-slapping-man) and said to me: the city is there! And he pointed to the window. I went over and took a look at the sky and the clouds and some gigantic buildings like space ships and asked again: where? And he said: Porra! Você está maluco? That, according to the instant translator that I already readjusted to Brazilian Portuguese means: F . . . Are you crazy?

I will have to investigate the actual location of the city later. Now let’s talk

about our mission. In the next days I will have This was the moment I learned another very-important-thing about this place: in Brazil it is crucial not to be Argentinian.meetings with the Brazilian authorities and the trips to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Tomorrow I will present my credentials to the Spatial Special Affairs Minister and ask him to meet President Dilma to explain our projects for the 2014 Earth time Football Cup and 2016 Earth time Olympic Games. I have to say that it will not be easy: Today at breakfast I saw the ambassador of the green Planet (bastards) and two guys I think are maybe Plutonians (double bastards). We are too late probably to make the deals. But as our proceedings manual says ‘never is never too late’ in Brazil because they are always late and they are last-minute champions.

One thing we will have to discuss is about the money, because Brazil is too f . . . expensive. I spent on the taxi, hotel and tipping lots of Brazilian humans 82,56 per cent of our budget. So: send lots more money.

New news tomorrow.

P. S. You have to know that there is a new Earth law that forces us to translate the dispatches to English so the Americans and the British can read them. So, please don’t write me back nasty stuff, I don’t want to be ashamed.


Hi galera! How are things going there?

Today I hired the Brazilian human helper for our mission. Everybody calls him Zé Mané, though I think his actual name is José Manuel. As our proceedings manual states, I told him I am the cultural and business delegate from Wales…

Read more: Granta

Back to top