Portuguese American Journal

Book | So Many People, Mariana | By Maria Judite de Carvalho – Editor’s Note

Maria Judite de Carvalho (1921-1998) is now recognized as a major Portuguese writer of the twentieth century. In the short story, she found the perfect vessel for her frank depictions of tragic, ordinary lives, and in So Many People, Mariana collects her first four books of short fiction in English for the first time, telling of women and men in moments of existential conflict: with their families; with themselves; with the prospect of a better future—or any future at all. These stories, originally published between 1959 and 1967, when the Salazar dictatorship and the rigid edicts of the Catholic church reigned, are acerbic, artful, and funny. Translated by the renowned Margaret Jull Costa, Carvalho leads readers into the sensuous dark of life under patriarchal capitalism, proffering tragic visions of class-conscious malaise “as precisely and without sentiment as an autopsy” (New York Review of Books).


“A definitive collection of stories by a Portuguese master of the form…The stories that make up this remarkable volume are united by their quiet intensity, their commitment to internal turmoil, and their enduring interest in the lives, hopes, and miseries that are unique to women.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Carvalho’s story collection about ordinary women struggling to find their purpose is yet another gift to Anglophone readers. In stark, unsentimental prose, the late Portuguese literary powerhouse studies class, society, and gender with surgical precision.” —The Millions (One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2023)

“These stories are bold and unsparing, quietly devastating. A fearless exploration of longing and the claustrophobia of loneliness.” —Kayla Maiuri, author of Mother in the Dark

 “Maria Judite de Carvalho’s writing comes out of restriction and confinement, both personal and political. But as I read her stories, I find her way of looking so unsparingly into our shared human darkness brings me comfort and awe and at times even makes me laugh out loud.” —Karolina Ramqvist, author of The Bear Woman


About the Author

Maria Judite de Carvalho (1921-1998) is widely considered one of Portugal’s most important writers of the second half of the twentieth century. Born and educated in Lisbon, with a secondary education in France, Carvalho’s work spans painting, journalism, and fiction, with a specialization in the short story and novella forms. A writer of great concision with an eye on modernization, the changing politics of Portugal, and the effect of contemporary life on everyday people, especially women, Carvalho published widely and to great critical acclaim in her time.

About the Translator

Margaret Jull Costa has been a literary translator for nearly thirty years and has translated works by novelists such as José Maria de Eça de Queiroz, José Saramago, Fernando Pessoa, and Javier Marías, as well as the poetry of Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen and Ana Luísa Amaral. She has won various prizes, most recently the 2015 Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation for Bernardo Atxaga’s The Adventures of Shola.


Book Details

Title: So Many People, Mariana

Author: Maria Judite de Carvalho

Translator: Margaret Jull Costa

Publisher‏: Two Lines Press

Publication Date‏: ‎October 10, 2023

Language‏: ‎English

Paperback: 436pp

Available @ Amazon.com

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