O caso Morel

O caso Morel / El caso Morel

Novel , 1973

Nova Fronteira

Pages: 200

Considered one of the most radical works by Brazilian literary icon Rubem Fonseca, his first novel, The Morel Case, was published at the height of the military dictatorship in 1973 and promptly banned as “obscene pornography.” 

The central figure of the novel is Paul Morel, a self-obsessed artist, in prison because of a murder that he himself doesn’t know if he committed. From his cell he makes obscene confessions that mix sex and violence with provocative reflections on art and literature. “In the entire Louvre the only worthwhile piece is the Battle of Uccello. The rest is garbage,” opines the writer. As in other of his works, the narrator reveals the most sinister things about himself with surgical detachment. To write about his experiences Morel enlists the help of an ex-detective and writer in crisis, Vilela, who visits him weekly in the prison to pick up his manuscripts and have them typed.

The Morel Case derives from Fonseca’s experience as a commissioner on the Rio police force, where he was inspired by his close contact with the underside of society.