Luis Vernando Verissimo is the Brazilian author of two books I have read in the last couple months. The first one is Borges and the Eternal Orangutans, a story of a Brazilian who attends a literary gathering in Buenos Aires discussing the works of Edgar Allen Poe. The second is The Club of Angels, taking place in Rio de Janeiro. Both stories are written most excellently, and translated very expertly. They are truly entertaining reads.
The Club of Angels was so entertaining, in fact, that I ended up reading it aloud to my wife for a bedtime story! We were both enthralled by the short little book, eagerly awaiting the next chapter to see how it would develop.
The story involves a club formed around preparing and eating together gourmet meals. After twenty years of this club, a new person shows up who demonstrates himself to be a most excellent chef. Following each meal one person dies. (Verissimo tells us this right at the beginning of the book, so I am not spoiling anything!) The anticipation is to see who the next “victim” will be, how the group and individuals in it handle this dilemma, what meal will be prepared next, and so on. It truly is a delightful read, despite what may seem on the surface to be rather nefarious situations.
I will not go further into story lines or plots, but rather encourage you, my friends, to pursue this book and read it yourself. Both books are short enough to be an evening or two of intense, entertaining reading.