Vanessa da Mata
© Geraldo Pestalozzi
Vanessa da Mata was born in Mato Grosso in 1976 and is a Latin Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter. She has released four studio albums, repeatedly scoring number-one hits in Brazil. The track “Boa Sorte”, composed and sung together with Ben Harper, was an immediate hit on YouTube. Da Mata also participated in an MTV show and did an advertising campaign for Nivea in 2013. Her debut novel A filha das flores is as full of warm sensuality as are her songs. It was pitched at the Berlinale Film Festival 2014.
In her debut novel A filha das flores (“Daughter of Flowers”), Vanessa da Mata demonstrates her skill with language and her capability for creating a highly atmospheric and mesmerizing story.
Giza grows up in a small Brazilian village where she helps run a flower business of a rather special kind with her cousins Florinda and Margarida – they deliver not only flowers but also love messages. At 18, Giza falls in love with Tito, but Florinda puts a stop to their blooming passion. As Giza grows up, the village seems to grow smaller, and looking for new territory, she discovers the Vila, an outer part that is taboo to most citizens. Yet Giza is welcomed with open arms and soon makes new friends, who introduce her to the Vila’s secret: the goddess Yade, a beautiful woman who choses a man to be with once a month.
Meanwhile, strange things start happening around Giza: At night, she hears weird noises that her cousins appear to know nothing about, and the juice they give her makes her sleep too deeply.
As Giza takes up her relationship with Tito again, she discovers a secret that links her family to Yade: the “goddess” is her maternal grandmother. Many years ago, something terrible happened in the village, after which Yade and her people were sent into the exile of the Vila…
A tropical Bildungsroman full of ingenuousness and happiness. Vanessa is herself from Mato Grosso, which accounts for the tenderness, the prodigious imagination and also the irony with which she creates her characters. An immense and abundant world.
José Eduardo Agualusa
Full of charm.
Have a look at Vanessa da Mata’s website and listen to some of her beautiful music:
A filha das flores
São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 2013, 280 p.
English sample translation available
Pitched at the Berlinale Film Festival 2014
Germany: Ullstein (List) 2015, pb. 2016 ● Mexico: Ediciones B (Mexican and Colombian rights) 2015 ● Portugal: Quetzal 2013