Luis Fernando Verissimo (born September 26, 1936 in Porto Alegre, Brazil) is a best selling Brazilian writer, little known abroad. He rose to fame in the 70's, 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. In Brazil, chroniclers are usually considered short story writers or columnists, as opposed to historians.
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 Erico is a noted writer.
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 General Figueiredo, José Sarney (1980's) and Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1990's), an old lady from the small city of Taubaté would become famous as "the last who still believes in what the government says". She was Killed Off for Real in 2005, when the government's mess was big enough to frustrate her.
- Ed Mort - a satire on Hard Boiled Detective stories, set on 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 Martini And Tuxedo styled spy, whose hypercompetent exploits are relegated to Offscreen Moments of Awesome, since his stories mostly center on haute cuisine.
- Pega pra Kaputt (untranslateable pun): After the fall of the Thir Reich, Those Wacky Nazis send Hitler's lone testicle to Brazil with the intent of cloning him. The nut is cursed, accidentally falling on the hands 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 Fiction writer is visited by a police inspector who tells him of a murder identical to the one described on 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, they're okay with it. 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 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 travels into 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 immigrants to 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 la Clef. He sends his bar buddies to her city as spies, assuming he's 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 1990's.
- Author Appeal: Talking about his soccer team Internacional, his favoured political party, PT, or actress Luana Piovani, one of his inspiring muses.
- Catchphrase: "Mort, Ed Mort, its in the plaque", Echoed later with "Mort, Ed Mort, its in the plaque. They stole my plaque".
- 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 in a kleptomaniac by slapping the poor guy every time the he tried to steal his mate gourd, are far from sophisticated.
- Fan Nickname: During Fernando Henrique Cardoso's tenure as Brazilian president, Verissimo always called him "Efe agá" ("Eff ache").
- Perpetual Poverty: Ed Mort's schtick, he's so dirt poor the roaches in his office band together to laugh at him.
- Running Gag: a lot, really, a lot, thanks to the newspaper-column thing.
In his novels there are examples of:
- In the detective novel "Borges And The Eternal Orangutans", the Unreliable Narrator is the single eye witness to a highly symbolism-heavy crime scene that is quickly messed up. The body is was 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.
- Straw Loser: A recurring theme.
- True Art Is Angsty: The narrator of "The Spies" seems to base his life on this belief.