The Lizard's Smile

The Lizard's Smile

( Portuguese - O Sorriso do Lagarto - 1989 )

novel by João Ubaldo Ribeiro

translated by Clifford E. Landers

Published: Scribner - hardback - 1994 ( US )
ISBN: 0689121253 / 9780689121258

Andre Deutsch Ltd. - hardback - 1995 ( UK )
ISBN: 0233989234 / 9780233989235

Against the backdrop of the Brazilian coast, a disenchanted biologist and various other unusual characters wind up searching together for an explanation for the strange changes in the local flora and fauna. Ana Clara is bored with her loveless marriage to health minister Angelo Marcos Barreto, a crass, sexist, racist homophobe ( who nevertheless has a gay affair ). She adopts a literary persona, ``Suzanna Fleischman, and under that pseudonym produces reams of erotic musings that lead to a very funny parody of Molly Bloom's famous ``Penelope soliloquy in Ulysses . Ana Clara's affair with tormented, shy Joao Pedroso, a biologist-turned-fishmonger, results in her pregnancy and culminates in a murder. Meanwhile, through a lame witch doctor, Joao stumbles upon a secret genetic engineering project at a local hospital which apparently has produced monstrous hybrids in an attempt to cross humans with chimpanzees. The struggle to unmask and shut down this project pits Dr. Lucio Nemesio, a heartless materialist, against Father Monteirinho, a humanistic priest for whom bioengineering and cruelty to animals are forms of evil.


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