Patrícia Melo


© Adriano Heitmann



Patrícia Melo was born in 1962 and is a highly regarded novelist, playwright and scriptwriter. She has been awarded a number of internationally renowned prizes, including the Jabuti Prize, the Prix Fémina for the best foreign novel, the German LiBeraturpreis 2013 and the German Crime Award 2014, and she was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and Time Magazine included her among the Fifty Latin American Leaders of the New Millenium.


Piled Women (“Mulheres empilhadas”) discusses in harsh and humorous language the urgent issue of violence against women in Brazil. The book tells the story of a young lawyer from São Paulo who, eager to escape an abusive relationship, agrees to go to Acre, in the middle of the Amazon rainforest to cover a series of trials. While following the numerous cases of women murdered by their husbands, boyfriends or relatives, the young lawyer discovers the beauty of the forest and the dazzling and tragic reality of indigenous life. At the same time, while taking part in rituals involving ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic drink used for mystical purposes, she rediscovers the memory of her own personal tragedy: having witnessed, at the age of four, her father kill her mother.

Patrícia Melo creates a mosaic of a Brazil that endorses the killing of women and the mass imprisonment of black people, while turning a blind eye to the crimes of the white upper and middle classes.


In the Bible, Gog Magog stands for the enemy of the chosen people, in the revelations of St John, even for the Antichrist. In Patrícia Melo's novel the name stands for the monster in each one of us. The narrator of this domestic drama with apocalyptic dimensions is an ordinary citizen, fifty-four years old, a biology teacher at an evening school, and living with his wife Marta in São Paulo. His profession bores him, his marriage has become routine. Only the new neighbour Ygor stirs his blood: because he makes so much noise, he hates him with all his heart and even wishes him dead.

One day, by chance, he gets the keys to Ygor's apartment. He enjoys the feeling of power and scrambles around until his neighbour, whom he calls Mister Upsilon, returns unexpectedly. Mister Upsilon falls and, in the fighting that ensues, dies. The narrator now has a problem: To hide the business about the key, he has to make the corpse disappear. But this is not so easy. He dismembers it and drives out with the luggage compartment of his car full of body parts, but where there was previously open country there are now family homes, and finally he returns to his apartment with the plastic bags. For a few days he sits there with the bags until the police come and pick him up. Here his life takes an unexpected turn: prison is like a cure for him, he finds new meaning in life by learning to do useful things like building water cocks. When the court finds him guilty, the public takes interest, and along with the Sunday visits of his ex-wife, a new female admirer starts visiting him.

With her frenetic rhythm, her acidic language, ironic and full of humour, Patrícia Melo penetrates the mind of a man who is stunned by the world around him and incapable of living with the noise of contemporary life, and builds a plot around the effects that noise and silence are capable of producing on human behaviour.


Gog Magog is a delightful and disturbing read.

O Globo, Rafael Montes

Gog Magog combines a critical tone in relation to society with an agile and humorous narrative that captures the reader's attention.

O Estadão

One of the greatest Brazilian authors of our time.



In her long-awaited new novel, Ghost Light (“Fogo-Fátuo”), Patrícia Melo tells a gripping crime story. Azucena Gobbi, one of the few upright detectives in São Paulo, is going through a bad patch: Getting home one day, she catches her husband sleeping with her sister. At the same time she is investigating the murder of the dashing telenovela star Fábbio Cássio. The main suspect, his beautiful girlfriend Cayanne, does not seem very affected by his death, as she is too busy struggling to become a celebrity herself. While Azucena tries to get her private life under control, her investigations unexpectedly lead her to a paedophile ring a place of no return, it seems...

Ostensibly entertaining, this artfully constructed novel once again shows Patrícia Melos skill at dismantling Brazilian society and uncovering not only the killer, but also the lies some lives are built on.


Ghost Light is a great debut adventure for detective Azucena Gobbi. It moreover proves, to the despair of certain academics, that crime novels can, first and foremost, be good literature.

O Estado de S. Paulo


The Body Snatcher (“Ladrão de cadáveres”), Patrícia Melo’s latest novel, is set in the Pantanal, the vast untamed Brazilian lowlands bordering Bolivia. One bright Sunday, alone on the banks of the Paraguay River, the narrator witnesses a fatal crash of a small plane. He finds a kilo of cocaine in the pilot’s backpack. When the crash is located several days later but the pilot’s body is missing, a macabre and dangerous scheme is hatched… Ladrão de cadáveres is a mesmerising mix of conspiracy, sex, betrayal of the living and desecration of the dead.


An excellent and atypical book, a fantastic adventure.

Le Huffington Post


An explosive mixture of dread, greed and corruption. You won’t put it down until youve read the very last page.

Cosmopolitan Brazil


A literary highlight, world class literature.

Jury of the German Crime Award 2014



In Writing in the Dark (“Escrevendo no escuro”), Patrícia Melo brings to her first collection of short stories the same critical eye for detail and the same psychological insight that characterise her novels. These are stories that intrigue, disquiet, and sometimes puzzle, displaying a universality that addresses many of the anxieties and demons that besiege men and women in the twenty-first century.




Deutscher Krimi-Preis 2014 - best foreign work (International Thrillers), Germany

LiBeraturpreis 2013, Germany

Prêmio Jabuti 2001, Brazil

Deutscher Krimi-Preis 1998 - best foreign work (International Thrillers), Germany

Prix Deux Océans 1996, Biarritz, France

Nominated for the Prix Fémina 1996, France








Mulheres Empilhadas

Brazil: Rio de Janeiro: Casa da Palavra 2019


Gog Magog

Rio de Janeiro: Rocco 2017, 174 p.

English sample translation available

Chile: Tajamar (Latin American rights) France: Actes SudGermany: Klett-Cotta 2018 Kuwait: Alsurra 2019 Spain: Escrituras Verticales 2018


Ghost Light (“Fogo-Fátuo”)

Rio de Janeiro: Rocco 2014, 304 p.

Among TOP 20 of Crime Novel 2017, Le Monde

TV serial rights sold to TV Globo

English sample translation available

Denmark: Anton & Ludwig France: Actes Sud 2017 Germany: Klett-Cotta 2017 Spain: Escrituras Verticales


The Body Snatcher (“Ladrão de cadáveres”)

Rio de Janeiro: Rocco 2010, 208 p.

German Crime Fiction Award 2014

LiBeraturpreis 2013

English sample translation available

Denmark: Anton & Ludwig 2016 Egypt: Al Arabi 2016 France: Actes Sud 2012 Germany: Klett-Cotta 2012, pb Heyne 2014 Japan: Hayakawa 2016Mexico: Océano (Spanish rights for America) 2015 Portugal: Quetzal 2012 UK: Bitter Lemon 2015


Jonas, o copromanta

São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 2008, Rocco 2010, 173 p.

English sample translation available

Portugal: Campo das Letras 2009


Lost World (“Mundo perdido”)

São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 2006, Rocco 2010, 200 p.

France: Actes Sud 2008 Portugal: Campo das Letras 2006 UK: Bloomsbury 2010


Black Waltz (“Valsa negra”)

São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 2003, 241 p.

France: Actes Sud Germany: Droemer Knaur 2005 Portugal: Campo das Letras 2004 UK: Bloomsbury 2004



São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 2000, 367 p.

Prêmio Jabuti 2001

France: Actes Sud 2001 Germany: Klett-Cotta 2003 Greece: Metaichmio 2003 Italy: Mondadori Portugal: Campo das Letras 2001 Romania: Univers Spain: Grijalbo Mondadori (Lumen) 2003, pb 2005 Turkey: Agora Kultur (avail.) UK: Bloomsbury 2002


In Praise of Lies (“Elogio da mentira”)

São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 1998, 187 p.

France: Actes Sud, 2000, pb Babel 2001 Germany: Klett-Cotta 1999, Büchergilde Gutenberg 2000, pb Knaur 2003, 2007, Wagenbach 2012 Italy: Fanucci 2000 The Netherlands: Wereldbibliotheek 1999 Romania: Univers 2014 Spain: Grijalbo Mondadori 2000 Sweden: Bonniers 2000, pb 2001 Taiwan: Crown UK: Bloomsbury 1998 USA: The Ecco Press 1998


The Killer (“O matador”)

São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 1995, 204 p.

German Crime Fiction Award 1998

France: Albin Michel 1996 Germany: Klett-Cotta 1997; pb dtv 1999, radio play (SWR) 1999 Italy: Feltrinelli 1996, pb 1998 The Netherlands: Wereldbibliotheek 1997 Norway: Aschehoug 1998 Portugal: Campo das Letras Romania: Univers 2014 Russia: Atticus 2005 Spain: Ediciones B 1997 UK: Bloomsbury 1997 USA: The Ecco Press 1997


Acqua Toffana

São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 1994, Rocco 2009, 133 p.

English sample translation available

France: Actes Sud 2003 Germany: Klett-Cotta 2002 Italy: IBIS Portugal: Campo das Letras 2002; Quetzal



Short Stories

Writing in the Dark (“Escrevendo no escuro”)

Rio de Janeiro: Rocco 2011, 192 p.


Sindróme do Pânico (in Writing in the Dark)

USA: Amazon Crossing