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A coming of age tale of brutal beauty and disarming tenderness from one of Brazil's most exciting young novelists, an author writing in the footsteps of "Roberto Bolaño, Jim Harrison, the Coen brothers and...Denis Johnson" (The New York Times)

You know there's good blood and bad blood, don't you? That bad blood there, it's good that it's coming out. You've got to let it out, because then your body will make more of the good blood, the clean sort that runs through the inside.

A young man wakes up at dawn to drive to the Andes, to climb the Cerro Bonete with a friend, a mountain untouched by ice axes and climbers, one of the planet's final mountains to be conquered--a planned feat of heroic bravado, or foolishness. But instead of meeting his friend, he finds himself dragged, by the undertow of memory, to Esplanada, the neighborhood he grew up in, to the brotherhood of his old friends, and to the clearing in the woods where he witnessed an act that has run like a scar through the rest of his life.

Back in Esplanada, the young man revisits his initiation into adulthood and recalls his boyhood friends who formed a strange and volatile pack. Despite his shyness and his vulnerability, the boy--known to his friends as Horse Hands--sees himself as the hero in an epic story. In his mind, reality is just a brief pause in a life where fantasy is the norm. On a soccer field, a collision between the boy and the neighborhood thug leads to a standoff which evolves into an unlikely friendship defined by fear and loyalty. Together with the other kids of Esplanada, they play video games, get drunk around bonfires, pick fights, and goad each other into bike races where the winner is the boy who has the most spectacular crash. Caught between the threat of not being man enough, the desire to please his friends, and the intoxicating contact-high of danger, Horse Hands finds himself following the rules of the pack, even as the risks mount. And in a moment that reverberates and repeats itself in new ways in his adulthood, his fantasies of who he is and what it means to be a man come crashing down, and life asserts itself as an endless rehearsal for a heroic moment that may never arrive.

From one of Brazil's most dazzling writers, The Shape of Bones is an exhilarating story of mythic power. Daniel Galera has written a pulse-racing novel with the otherworldly wisdom of a parable.



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