Daniel Galera

Writer and translator.

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Rights handled by Laurence Laluyaux (Rogers, Coleridge & White), l.laluyaux@rcwlitagency.com


Welcome! This is my little corner on the web. I've been writing fiction since the late 1990s. I was born in July 1979, in São Paulo, Brazil, but my family is from Rio Grande do Sul and I was raised in Porto Alegre. As an adult, I lived in São Paulo and Santa Catarina for a few years, and today I live in Porto Alegre again. I’m married to Taís and I’m Sara’s father. I’ve published short stories and miscellaneous texts on the internet from 1996 to 2001 and my first two books were published via the independent label Livros do Mal, which I created with friends back in those days. Between then and now I’ve published a bunch of novels and one graphic novel, all by Companhia das Letras, and translated several books from English. I also collaborate with artists and write reviews, essays and articles both in Portuguese and English. I was selected one of the Best Young Brazilian Novelists by Granta magazine in 2012 and my books were published in more than 15 languages. Below you’ll find an annotated list of the books I’ve published (with some excerpts in English), my translations, and collaborations in artistic projects. Thanks for visiting and write to me if you want to know more or just chat.


The “dentesguardados” newsletter [in Portuguese] was first sent to its subscribers in the beginning of 2019 and since June 2023 has a new edition every first Sunday of the month. The texts can include personal notes, comments on books, movies and video games, unreleased short stories, the behind-the-scenes of ongoing works and the literary arena, Q&A with readers and anything else that comes to mind.

Subscribe: https://buttondown.email/danielgalera

Read previous issues on the Newsletter archive

My newsletter is open to all readers but I accept donations to pay for Buttondown ($29/month) or support my work in general, specially writing new fiction! If you feel like contributing with any amount, follow your heart and click here. Thank you :)


O deus das avencas (The god of ferns)

Novellas. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2021
» Foreign: Spain (Penguin Random House)

Three novellas written during the first year of the pandemic but imagined before it. They range from contemporary realism to post-apocalyptic speculation, with some sci-fi with dystopian vibes in the middle. In “The god of ferns”, the collection’s first novella, a couple locks themselves up inside their home waiting for the birth of their first child, on the eve of Brazil’s 2018 elections, growing increasingly uncertain about their own fate and the future of their country. In “Tóquio”, a lonely man living in mid-21st century São Paulo, a city plagued by deep inequality and environmental disasters, needs to decide what he’ll do with a dysfunctional digital copy of his deceased mother’s mind. Helpless, he seeks for a group therapy for caretakers of these uncanny avatars. And finally, in “Bugônia”, a girl discovers her transforming role in a post-apocalyptic community in symbiosis with nature, which, under the pressures of a ravaged planet’s external threats, sees its balance shift when an unknown man arrives. A brief retreat back into the past and two leaps towards the future, in an attempt to fictionally investigate ideologies and practices that endanger – and may bring together – human and non-human lives.

∷ Read a short interview and an excerpt from the novella "The god of ferns" published in The Paris Review website, transl. by Julia Sanches, 2021.

Meia-noite e vinte (Twenty After Midnight)

Novel. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2016
Foreign: Germany (Suhrkamp), Sweden (Norstedts), France (Albin Michel), USA (Penguin Press), Netherlands (Atlas Contact)

Amidst a devastating heat wave and a bus driver strike that shuts down the city, three friends reunite in Porto Alegre. At the end of the 1990s, they had shaken the internet with Orangotango, a digital fanzine that gathered a cult following all over Brazil. Now, almost two decades later, the death of its fourth member will reconnect Aurora, biologist and researcher going through a small academic war; Antero, vanguard artist turned adman; and Emiliano, a journalist with a difficult task ahead. Three lives cornered between unkept promises and apocalyptic yearnings. A novel that, as a starting point, takes free inspiration from Porto Alegre’s cultural scene at the dawn of the millennium only to quickly advance towards the 2013-14 political turbulences and show how the dreams and expectations of a generation have fallen apart. Or the chronicle of how the end of the world, to a certain middle class, went from being a neoliberal fantasy to become a slow and fearful process of precarity and decay, killing imaginations of the future.

"Daniel Galera creates a prism of the present with 'Twenty After Midnight', in which the promises of salvation of the digital age go nowhere. In doing so, he presents a radically contemporary novel with potential for identification. Because honestly, why do we continue despite this tragedy every day? And if we do, could not we do it better?"
—Dennis Pohl, Spiegel Online

Barba ensopada de sangue (Blood-drenched beard)

Novel. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2012
Awarded the Prêmio São Paulo de Literaura 2013
Foreign: Germany (Suhrkamp), Portugal (Quetzal), Catalonia (L´Altra Editorial), Netherlands (Atlas Contact), Spain (Mondadori), UK (Hamish Hamilton), Sweden (Norstedts), Finland (Otava), Norway (Gyldendal), Israel (Penn Publishing), USA (Penguin Press), Turkey (Can Press), Poland (Rebis), Italy (SUR), Serbia (Geopoetika)

After his father’s suicide, a physical education teacher moves to Garopaba, a small coastal town in the state of Santa Catarina, in search of the truth about his grandfather’s death, who was supposedly murdered in unclear circumstances. During a slow and cold day-to-day life at the off-season beach town, a story of lost love, family conflict and untold secrets slowly emerges, evoking the unsuspected source of common life myths and the struggles we face to understand and recognize one another. A novel about determinism and all the things we inherit from the people and the places that shape us; about unsolvable mysteries, superstitions, and the spectral materiality at the base of everything; about whales, waves, blood; about our limited capacity to recognize, amidst torrential phenomenonal flow, what is truly needed to attain some truth about each other and ourselves. In 2022, Companhia das Letras published a hard-cover 10th anniversary edition with a new graphic design, foreword by Carol Bensimon and afterword by Julio Pimentel.

“Blood-Drenched Beard ought to earn [Daniel Galera] a following north of the border…. [It] is a mournful, masculine novel. It reads like the tale of a man learning to be man without the shadow of his father to box. Can you escape your inherited nature? And what if in trying to break from family you resemble it all the more strongly? The writing can grow so lush one can feel the muscle-memory habits of life in a humid habitat returning — the mosquito swat, the brow swipe. Very few novels in recent memory have dedicated so much elegant prose to describing the texture and color and life of the sea.”
—John Freeman, Dallas Morning News

“Entertaining… a low-key and often very funny existential noir with sand between its toes. At various moments, it put me in mind of the work of Roberto Bolaño, Jim Harrison, the Coen brothers and the Denis Johnson of his black comedy “Already Dead” (1997). (...) Mr. Galera is a gifted writer, and it is mostly a treat to watch him feel his way around this material. Like his narrator, he’s a lover as much as a fighter, and his novel is seductive. It’s got a tidal pull.”
—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“Coolly seductive… A tensely atmospheric novel whose glassy surface conceals a dangerous undertow.”
—The Guardian

"A monumental parable about the ebb and flow of memory and oblivion, a journey to the heart leading to the affirmation of the true self."
—Frankfurter Rundschau


Graphic novel. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2010
Illustrated and co-created by Rafael Coutinho
Foreign: France (Cambourakis), Portugal (Polvo)

My partnership with comics and visual artist Rafael Coutinho, this graphic novel is the result of an exciting creative process, and it earned me the “best new scriptwriter” award at HQMIX. There are five main stories, separate but presented in an intertwined way. A sculptor receives an unusual invitation to star in a movie whose script seems weirdly inspired in his private life. A young salesman at a hardware store, a rope bondage enthusiast, finds out that the beautiful girl he’s in love with is particularly fragile and susceptible to his favorite fetish. A washed-up Chinese movie star comes to a movie premiere in Brazil and becomes a suspect in the death of his costar. A spoiled, arrogant playboy is kicked out of his uncle’s place and sent to Europe to fend for himself. A depressed writer and his ex-wife, parents to a girl, meet at parks and diners in São Paulo, trying to maintain their emotional ties alive. Adding up to more than three-hundred pages, the plots are woven together by recurring themes and subtexts, such as the characters’ clashes with drastic or mysterious events that change their lives, the conciliation between life and art, and the attempt to preserve love and affection in relationships threatened by adverse circumstances.


Novel. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2008
Machado de Assis Prize for Best Novel 2008 (Fundação Biblioteca Nacional)
Foreign : Portugal (Caminho)

Anita, a young writer who began to dislike her own work, travels to Buenos Aires to try and reshape her life and gets involved with a sect of authors who blur and idealize the boundaries between reality and fiction. It is my most love-or-hate novel from what I gathered, maybe because it is willing to play around with what a woman's point of view in fiction can even mean. But it is above all a story about the whims and the romanticization surrounding “literary craft ”, if we want to use a romanticized expression as well: writers that are possessed by their characters, who’d give their lives to express their desires et cetera. It is, therefore, a metaliterary novel wrapped around the story of a modern young woman obsessed with being a mother at the expanse of everything else, even if “else” is her promising literary career or, as her lover and admirer Holden might say, the commitment to the shapeshifting power of words. You can laugh it or take it seriously, hate it or be moved by it. I've heard it all from readers.

Mãos de Cavalo (The shape of bones)

Novel. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2006
Foreign: Portugal (Caminho), Italy (Mondadori), Argentina (Interzona), France (Gallimard), Romenia (Vivaldi), USA (Penguin Press), UK (Hamish Hamilton)

A ten-year-old boy falls spectacularly off his bike. The most feared resident of a neighbourhood in Porto Alegre is fouled violently during a soccer game. Two friends get ready for the radical adventure of climbing Cerro Bonete, in Bolivia. Behind these disparate events, which will gradually connect in dramatic space and time, The Shape of Bones gradually unravels a plot about loss and guilt, and about the limits of our capacity to shape our own personalities and decide, ultimately, who we want to be. The setting on the teenage half of the novel is inspired by my own formative years, growing up in the south zone of Porto Alegre in the ‘90s. It is not autobiographical; Hermano and his story are fictional. But the book tries to reconstruct the culture and the texture of those years in a middle-class neighborhood (including certain class tensions), the influence of violent American movies and comics, the prejudices and the virile tropes that tailored, one way or the other, a boy’s coming of age. The novel’s structure ensures that not only the light of the past shines on the present, but also the other way around: we can’t understand the teenager without knowing the grown-up. And the novel’s final point is, I dare say, how much of our energies we’ll need to dedicate, over a lifetime, to pretending or performing, in the hope of feeling good right in front of intimate and exterior expectations.

"A book of visceral and tender beauty whose echoes persist long after the final page."
—David Mitchell, author of The Bone Clocks

A coming of age tale of brutal beauty and disarming tenderness from one of Brazil's most exciting young novelists, an author writing in the footsteps of "Roberto Bolaño, Jim Harrison, the Coen brothers and...Denis Johnson"
(The New York Times)

Até o dia em que o cão morreu (Till the day the dog died)

Novel. Porto Alegre: Livros do Mal, 2003; São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2007

Lonely, broke, and bored in Porto Alegre, a man anchored to a belated adolescence is at a standstill: when a dog and a model named Marcela come into his life, he needs to choose between a life with no emotional risks and the instability of those oncoming passions. The nameless protagonist and his wanderings are pretty much derived from João Gilberto Noll, who signed the first edition’s jacket copy. Apart from that, it is a book of its time and of my age during that time, of a privileged young man who had read Camus and Bataille and was starting to notice his anxiety – and the anxiety of his friends and acquaintances – before a world saturated with promises, mostly misleading ones, in which choices and rewards seemed equivalent and, after brief instants of joy, empty. The apartment’s infinite horizon is the metaphor for that condition.

Dentes Guardados

Stories. Porto Alegre: Livros do Mal, 2001
Foreign: Italy (Arcana)

Fourteen amateur short stories, but with historical value and some persistent quality here and there, originally published online and collected in this debut book


Collaboration in art projects

Índice Remissivo. Curatorship (with Taís Cardoso) and teaching of literary workshops. The project combines exhibitions from visual artists with bookshelves that can be browsed by the visitors. First edition: Camila Elis (7/20/2023 to 9/30/2023). Casa de Cultura Mário Quintana, Porto Alegre.

Human Brains. Collaboration with the text “A guide to manufacturing bodies”, for the exhibit Human Brains: It Begins with an Idea, curated by Udo Kittelmann and Taryn Simon. The literary text imagines instructions for the making of bodies for digitalized minds, using as reference ideas about the mind and the brain found in Plato, Aristotle and Pliny the Elder. Fondazione Prada, Veneza, April 23rd to November 27th, 2022.

Voz do vale. Text, script, and song lyrics for the short-film Antes do Azul, directed by Romy Pocztaruk, 2019.

Aterro. Text for the video directed by Marina Camargo and Romy Pocztaruk, 2018. Exhibited at Pinacoteca Rubem Berta from 10/15/2018 to 11/23/2018.

Piscina. Text for the “Água Viva” exhibition, by Denis Rodriguez, curated by Monica Hoff. Galeria Península, Porto Alegre, from June 27th to September 19th, 2015. The text accompanies the architectural project “Piscina flutuante no cais”, by Nathalia Cantergiani, member of the exhibition. It narrates the pool’s awakening consciousness after it is used by the guests.

Island sessions. Two texts – Perceptions and Reflections – for the Island Sessions project, curated by Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, 9th Mercosul Biennial, 2013.

Não para. With Tatiana Rosa (coreography). Text and dance. “Duetos”, Casa M, 8th Mercosul Biennial, 2011. A verbose narrative that talks about the impossibility of anything in the world being still is read around a ballerina that executes a choreography of “slow dance”.

Leviatã em processo. With Maíra Coelho (puppeteer). “Duetos”, Casa M, 8th Mercosul Biennial, 2011. Script and soundtrack for a shadow theater performance.


Deception , Philip Roth
(São Paulo, Companhia das Letras: in progress

Suttree [Suttree], Cormac McCarthy
(Rio de Janeiro, Alfaguara: tba)

Maneiras de ser [Ways of being], James Bridle
(São Paulo: Todavia, 2023)

Metazoa [Metazoa], Peter Godfrey-Smith
(São Paulo: Todavia, 2022)

Estado elétrico [The electric state], Simon Stalenhag
(São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2022)

Águas do norte [The north water], Ian Mcguire
(São Paulo: Todavia, 2021)

Eu amo Dick [I Love Dick], Chris Kraus
(São Paulo: Todavia, 2019. With Taís Cardoso)

Ritmo Louco [Swing Time], Zadie Smith
(São Paulo: Companhia das letras, 2018.)

Os mil outonos de Jacob de Zoet [The thousand autumns of Jacob de Zoet], David Mitchell
(São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2015)

Skagboys [Skagboys], Irvine Welsh
(Rio de Janeiro: Rocco, 2014. With Daniel Pellizzari)

O lobo do mar [Sea Wolf], Jack London
(Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 2013)

Ficando longe do fato de já estar meio que longe de tudo, David Foster Wallace
(São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2012; With Daniel Pellizzari)

Seu corpo figurado [Your body figured], Douglas A. Martin
(Rio de Janeiro: Editora Bolha, 2011)

28 Contos de John Cheever, John Cheever
(São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2010)

Jimmy Corrigan, O Garoto Mais Esperto do Mundo [Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Eearth], Chris Ware
(São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2009)

Sobre a beleza [On beauty], Zadie Smith
(São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2007)

Reino do Medo [Kingdom of Fear], Hunter S. Thompson
(São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2007)

Indecisão [Indecision], Benjamin Kunkel
(Rio de Janeiro: Rocco, 2007)

Extremamente alto & incrivelmente perto [Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close], Jonathan Safran Foer
(Rio de Janeiro: Rocco, 2006)

Pornô [Porno], Irvine Welsh
(Rio de Janeiro: Rocco, 2006. With Daniel Pellizzari)

Minha Vida, Robert Crumb
(São Paulo: Conrad, 2005. Quadrinhos)

Trainspotting [Trainspotting], Irvine Welsh
(Rio de Janeiro: Rocco, 2005. With Daniel Pellizzari)

Nem os mais ferozes [No beast so fierce], Edward Bunker
(São Paulo: Barracuda, 2004)

Blues, Robert Crumb
(São Paulo: Conrad, 2004. Quadrinhos)

América, Robert Crumb
(São Paulo: Conrad, 2004. Quadrinhos)

Contos de fadas [Fairy tales], Michael Coleman
(São Paulo: Companhia das Letras)

Lendas do Rei Artur [Arthurian Legends], Margaret Simpson
(São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2004)

O blog de Bagdá [The Bagdah Blog], Salam Pax
(São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2003)