Geography of Rebels Trilogy


By Maria Gabriela Llansol
Translated from the Portuguese by Audrey Young

English debut with three linked novellas by influential cult Portuguese writer interweaving history, poetry, and philosophy into transcendent literary vision.

Publication Date: September 25, 2018

Paperback: 9781941920633
Ebook: 9781941920640



The Geography of Rebels Trilogy, containing The Book of Communities, The Remaining Life, and In the House of July & August, is Maria Gabriela Llansol’s debut work to appear in English, containing her own earliest novels, written between 1974-1979, an interlinked trilogy of works originally published separately, but published in English together to give readers the chance to witness the breathtaking scope of her work as it was laid out from the very beginnings of her sterling literary career.

“If anyone might be profitably compared to Clarice Lispector, it might well be Maria Gabriela Llansol. This is because of the fundamentally mystical impulse that animates them both, their conception of writing as a sacred act, a prayer: their idea that it was through writing that a person can reach ‘the core of being.’” — Benjamin Moser, author of Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector

“Llansol’s text . . . creates spaces where conjecture and counterfactual accounts operate freely granting a glimpse of an alternative reality.” — Claire Williams, The Guardian

Geography of Rebels presents the English debut of three linked novellas from influential Portuguese writer Maria Gabriela Llansol. With echoes of Clarice Lispector, Llansol’s novellas evoke her vision of writing as life, conjuring historical figures and weaving together history, poetry, and philosophy in a transcendent journey through one of Portugal’s greatest creative minds.

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One of EuropeNow Journal’s Best Translations of 2018

The Geography of Rebels Trilogy for the first time, I had to ask myself what on earth I had just read. Several re-readings later and I would still struggle to describe the narrative or characters with any kind of clarity. And yet, I am intrigued and mesmerized by Llansol’s prose, her mysterious and beautiful sentences that push the novel beyond its usual constraints, and, at times, approach prose poetry. Like Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, Llanso’s method is a radical one and, for those readers who like to be challenged, worth checking out.”- Staff pick at FOYLES in Charing Cross, the largest bookstore in the UK

“Dense and sparkling, Maria Gabriela Llansol’s Geography of Rebels is a commotion of a novel. With abrupt sentences and a narrative that darts, swerves, and veers, it is a perplexing read, but in a way that innervates, rather than discourages.”- Bookseller Benjamin, Librarie Drawn & Quarterly in Montreal includes Geography as one of his best books of 2018

“Imagine if Don Mclean’s song American Pie was written about Christian mysticism instead of rock-n-roll. That’s my elevator pitch/description of the Portuguese writer, Maria Gabriela Llansol’s, English language debut: The Geography of Rebels Trilogy. Originally published as three separate books—The Book of Communities, The Remaining Life, and In the House of July and August—it has been painstakingly translated by Audrey Young and released by the Texas indie publisher Deep Vellum in a single volume. Anyone coming to Llansol with any kind of “normal” expectations at all will likely be disappointed. Plot, logical structure, continuity, a sense of linear time and/or space—you won’t find any of that here. At least not in any form that is readily apparent. Instead, Llansol immerses her readers in a shared hallucinatory vision, seemingly fueled by religious hysteria and open to multiple interpretations. . . . There is magic in how Llansol puts words together—and more of the poet in her than the prose writer. . . . Llansol is a writer’s writer, unrestrained and reckless in her use of language. And wholly uninterested in catering to the general reading public. Which brings us to what many would say is the major challenge in Llansol’s work. The trilogy has more in common with a medieval Book of Hours than modern fiction. . . . And, still, the more I think (and write) about Maria Gabriela Llansol, the more intrigued I am by her work. There is a phosphorescent brilliance here. And for those who can stay the course, rewards to be had.”-Tara Cheesman-Olmsted, The Quarterly Conversation

“Navigating the dreamlike, shape-shifting territories of Llansol’s trilogy is a reading experience unlike any other. Llansol’s writing sets out not to represent reality but to experiment with it and create it anew: her texts are her crucible, allowing her to mix elements that are normally separate and see what reactions occur. Very early on, I learnt to stop trying to pin down exactly what was happening or exactly what it all meant. The best way to experience this book is simply by continuing to read, just as the best way to experience a new landscape is simply by continuing to walk.”- Annie McDermott, Review 31’s Best Books of 2018

”Reading Geography of Rebels is an unforgettable experience. Llansol’s hallucinatory prose is genuinely transfixing.”- Joshua Tait, Carolina Quarterly

“Imagine Clarice Lispector speaking with specters. Imagine Emily Dickinson seeking and finding a community. Imagine Hilda Hilst rebelling further into the madding crowd. Imagine Virginia Woolf as a Lisbon-born medium channeling displaced waves of consciousness. Imagine Fernando Pessoa as a woman building edenic spaces outside of our time-space continuum. If you can imagine some amalgamation of these descriptors, you may come close to conjuring up the writings of Maria Gabriela Llansol, but you can never quite know their protean beauty until you have entered these textual landscapes for yourself, and discovered the alternate realities they open up, where time feels simultaneously historical and ahistorical, and space simultaneously geographical and ageographical. We are fortunate that Audrey Young has translated Llansol’s Geography of Rebels Trilogy into English for the first time. Now we no longer have an excuse to overlook Llansol’s idiosyncratic genius.”- Tyler Malone, Literary Hub’s “21 Books You Should Read This October”

“Abstract, speculative thought, difficult in its way, but Maria Gabriela Llansol makes it sing.”- Anthony Brown, Times Flow Stemmed

“Her figures are subjected to deformations and subject to a series of precise sensations. It is the precision of thought that gives her story clarity and makes it a container for speculative questions about the nature of writing and close reading. I found reading The Book of Communities an intensely felt experience, nervous as much as cerebral. It is a lived experience of Merleau-Ponty’s essay on language not residing purely in the brain, but being something we do with our bodies, words are “a certain use made of my phonatory equipment, a certain modulation of my body as a being in the world.” In that sense, like poetry, it is a book that benefits by being read aloud, playing with the elisions and sound structures. Its translator, Audrey Young, from what I can tell from comparing its original online, has done an outstanding job of retaining its rich tone and rhythm.”- Times Flowed Stemmed