The Past is an Imperfect Tense
While Kucinski’s treatment of the story is meticulous and subtle, he writes in a terse style that pulls no punches. The result is a poignant text that confirms Kucinski’s place as one of the most outstanding writers of today.
B. Kucinski has received Brazil’s Jabuti Award on two occasions and was awarded the Brazilian National Library Literary Prize in 2014 for the best short story collection (Você Vai Voltar Pra Mim). He was also a finalist for the International Literature Award in 2014 and was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for the English version of his novel K in 2015.
The Past is An Imperfect Tense
‘Like Kucinski’s first novel, K, this is a powerful evocation of parental love and loss. The Past is an Imperfect Tense juxtaposes scattered memories, retrospective regrets and scientific research as the narrator looks back over his son’s life and tries to piece together what went wrong.’
Claire Williams, Associate Professor of Brazilian Literature and Culture at the University of Oxford
‘This is first and foremost the compelling, relentlessly honest account of a parent’s agonised battle to love, understand and support an adopted son seemingly lost to drug dependency. But Kucinski tells that story by moving between Brazil and Israel, against a background of anti-black racism, social and political brutality, the migrant Arab diaspora experience, and the plight of the Palestinians. And in so doing he manages to suggest, subtly but powerfully, how his traumatised characters’ struggle to survive as a family, to come to terms with the scars of abandonment, deception, prejudice and guilt, might also stand for a broader condition of exile and precarity in our contemporary world.’
David Treece, Camoens Professor of Portuguese at King's College London
Bernardo Kucinski is a Brazilian journalist and political scientist, professor at the University of São Paulo.