Brazilian-born doctor Andre Cabral is living in London when one day he receives a letter from his home country, which he left nearly thirty years ago. A letter he keeps in his pocket for weeks, but tells no one about. The letter prompts Andre to remember the days of his youth - torrid afternoons on Ipanema beach with his listless teenage friends, parties in elegant Rio apartments, his after-school job at his father's plastic surgery practice - and, above all, his secret infatuation with the daughter of his family's maid, the intoxicating Luana. Unable to resist the pull of the letter, Andre embarks on a journey back to Brazil to rediscover his past.
An arresting debut about memory and trauma. In this respect and others, it resembles Julian Barnes's Man Booker-winner, The Sense of an Ending. Sauma, whose style manages to be both spare and rich, is clear-eyed about the social and racial divides in Rio * Daily Telegraph * Luiza Sauma's debut novel is that rare thing: a completely absorbing, brilliantly-designed, literary work. Her ability to cut across time and continents and to inhabit the physical and inner life of both a young Brazilian and that same man in middle-age is as dazzling as the novel's plot. The reveal, when it comes, is astonishing-sensuous, shocking, and completely earned. -- Anita Shreve, New York Times bestselling author of The Pilot's Wife Her writing is beautiful. I am sure I'll see her name on the spine of many a novel to come -- Rachel Seiffert, author of the Booker-shortlisted 'The Dark Room' Sauma's writing is sensual and evocative. Flesh and Bone and Water is a powerful depiction of sexual attraction and long lost loves; a haunting weave of Rio, the Amazon and present-day London -- Ardashir Vakil, award-winning author of 'Beach Boy' Luiza Sauma's first novel, Flesh and Bone and Water, is lush and evocative. The secret at the center came as a shocking surprise, and the characters were as haunted as I was. Sip a caipirinha and enjoy -- Lisa See I devoured this stunning debut by Luiza Sauma. An immersive, heartbreaking coming of age story. Beg, borrow or steal a copy -- Susie Steiner, author of 'Missing, Presumed' Teenage love is well documented, but Sauma finds some interesting things to say about it in her debut novel... Sauma convincingly evokes the cacophony of Rio. Moving... it offers an indelible glimpses into Brazil's stratified society * Sunday Times * A vivid debut novel * Radio Times * Sauma's excellent prose is thoroughly consuming, bouncing between continents and eras to create a complicated tale of class, ancestry, and love in which happy endings are difficult to find but hope remains. * Publisher's Weekly * A sensuous, achingly poignant and beautifully observed exploration of both adolescence and a midlife crisis. -- Yvette Huddleston * Yorkshire Post * [A] quiet, inwardly focused, fast-moving, and well-plotted debut...Brazilian-born Sauma depicts her and her protagonist's vast, beguiling homeland with sweltering realism. * Booklist * Sauma's excellent prose is thoroughly consuming, bouncing between continents and eras to create a complicated tale of class, ancestry, and love in which happy endings are difficult to find but hope remains. * Publisher's Weekly * Brazil is marvellously conjured: full of hot, smoky sunrises and manioc pancakes, chilled coconut milk and "the salty violence of Ipanema" * New Yorker *
Luiza Sauma was born in Rio de Janeiro and raised in London. After studying English at the University of Leeds, she worked at the Independent on Sunday for several years. She has an MA in Creative & Life Writing from Goldsmiths, University of London, where she was awarded the Pat Kavanagh Award in 2014, and she has also been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.