Luis Fernando Verissimo (born September 26, 1936 in Porto Alegre, Brazil) is a bestselling Brazilian writer, though little known abroad. He rose to fame in the 1970s, mastering a genre named "Chronicle": weekly or daily columns in a newspaper, ranging between humorous political commentary and witty short stories about daily urban life (as opposed to the historical narrative implied by the word in English).
Since then, he has published 40 books of short stories and newspaper columns, 7 novels and 15 comic books. In the meantime, he also plays the saxophone in Jazz 6, a sextet of five players. His father, Érico, was an important figure in Brazilian literature, having written many classics, most notably the epic trilogy Time and The Wind.
Usually his work is aimed towards a middle- to upper-class audience and has a distinctive left-leaning appeal. This includes Slice of Life stories, genre fiction parodies and observational humor. A few stories do, however, take a turn for the dark, leading to a classic case of Cerebus Rollercoaster.
- The Analyst from Bagé - a Gaucho Freudian analyst. Enough said, if you know what a Gaucho is. Those stories usually have a satiric edge, though not everyone got that.
- The Old Lady from Taubaté - during the very unpopular terms of presidents Figueiredo, Sarney (1980s) and Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1990s), an old lady from Taubaté, a city northeast of São Paulo, who was "the last person who still believes in what the government says". She was Killed Off for Real in 2005, when the governmental mess finally became too much for her.
- Ed Mort - a satire on Hard Boiled Detective stories, set in Rio de Janeiro. The Ed Mort stories have been adapted to a series of albums, a feature film, a Made-for-TV Movie and a short-lived TV series.
- Peter Vest-Pocket: A Tuxedo and Martini styled spy, whose hypercompetent exploits are relegated to Offscreen Moments of Awesome, since his stories mostly center on haute cuisine.
- Pega pra Kaputt (untranslateable punnote ): After the fall of the Third Reich, Those Wacky Nazis send Hitler's lone testicle to Brazil with the intent of cloning him. The testicle is cursed, however, and it happens to come in the possession of a hapless Jewish dentist who's unaware of what it is. A mix of prose and comic strips.
- The Devil's Garden: A Pulp Magazine writer is visited by a police inspector who tells him of a murder identical to the one described in his latest novel. The entire pulp book on which he's working is included as a Novel Within a Novel.
- Club of Angels (Gluttony): A group of wealthy, decadent gourmets starts dying, one by one, after they hire a new, mysterious cook. It's pretty obvious the cook is poisoning them, but the food is so good that they don't care. Part of a series on novels exploring the Seven Deadly Sins.
- Borges and the Eternal Orangutans: An Asshole Victim is murdered during a meeting of Edgar Allan Poe scholars, all of whom are familiar with Locked Room Mystery type tropes. Author Jorge Luis Borges is summoned as a consultant, due to his extensive knowledge on Poe. Part of a series exploring different writers.
- The Opposing: An incompetent detective journeys to the Amazon Forest looking for a missing American scientist, who was involved with a pacifist native cult. Part of a series about individual fingers.
- Twelfth Night: A retelling of the Shakespeare play, with characters reinterpreted as Brazilian émigrés in France. The Recursive Crossdressing gets a bit bizarre, since lots of the characters are reimagined as actual transexuals. Part of a series of Shakespeare retellings.
- The Spies: An alcoholic publisher becomes obsessed with a small-town amateur writer, believing her manuscript to be a Roman à Clef. He sends his bar buddies to her city as spies, believing heis thus going to "save her" from an abusive husband.
In his short stories there are examples of:
- Arc Number: every single time he needs a random number, he uses either 17 or 117. Every. Single. Time. It was even discussed in a newspaper column of his, in the late 1990s.
- Author Appeal: Talking about his favorite soccer team (Internacional) his favoured political party (PT, short for Partido dos Trabalhadores, or Workers' Party), or actress (Luana Piovani), one of his inspiring muses.
- Catchphrase: "Mort, Ed Mort, it's on the sign [on the door]", Echoed, and, later, "Mort, Ed Mort, it's on the sign. Someone stole my sign".
- Cultured Badass: The Analyst from Bagé, the personification of Testosterone Poisoning, is also a well read psychologist that has given lectures abroad. That said, most of his methods, such as building a Pavlovian response on a kleptomaniac by slapping the man every time the he tried to steal his mate gourd, are far from sophisticated.
- Perpetual Poverty: Ed Mort's schtick. He's so dirt-poor that the roaches in his office band together to laugh at him.
- Running Gag: a lot, really, a lot, thanks to the newspaper-column thing.
- Seinfeldian Conversation: Many of his chronicles have humorous rambling, more often than not discussing words themselves (Inherently Funny Words, what he thinks they should mean, how they're pronounced, etc.).
In his novels there are examples of:
- In the detective novel "Borges And The Eternal Orangutans", the Unreliable Narrator is the single eyewitness to a highly symbolism-heavy crime scene that quickly gets messed up. The body was in a "V" position, close to a mirror, making a sign, but he can't remember exactly what was the sign it formed (and somehow this is significant for solving the crime). The chapters are properly named X, O, W, M and <>.
- Meaningful Name: In the same novel, there's a detective whose name is Cuervo (spanish for crow), who's also a specialist in Poe's work. A friend of his (Borges) jokes that Cuervo has the "privileged point of view of an insider".
- Genius Bonus: Having read a few of the books mentioned in "The Spies" turns the entire plot upside down, as the reader would know the beautiful author's novel isn't a case of Write Who You Know, but just plain old plagiarism.
- Heel Realization: In The Devil's Garden, heroic sailor Conrad realizes his Mentor is using him as a killer-for-hire.
- Hollywood Board Games: One of his short comedic stories exaggerates this trope by correlating "cheats in Battleship" with "is unreliable and not wife material". A couple of newlyweds decide to play the paper-and-pen version in between having sex in their honeymoon. The husband is dismayed to find that his wife breaks apart the aircraft carrier and scatters the fragments all over the grid. She also doesn't draw the submarine because it's so deep down, its location is unknown to even her. During the divorce, the husband explains this to his friends and they agree.
- Straw Loser: A recurring theme.
- Trolling Creator: States in many of his novels that they are part of a series about a subject in particular. They never are.
- True Art Is Angsty: The narrator of "The Spies" seems to base his life on this belief.