Virtual Event: 'Hugs and Cuddles' by Joao Gilberto Noll; a discussion with Edgar Garbelotto, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, and Andrea Lawlor

“In this posthumous genre– and gender–bending novel, Noll writes about a man embarking on a transgressive journey of self-discovery while his nation is ravaged around him.” —The Millions

Third Place Books is thrilled to partner with Community Bookstore (Brooklyn) to present a discussion of João Gilberto Noll's Hugs and Cuddles, translated by Edgar Garbelotto. The book's translator will be joined in conversation by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (The Freezer Door) and Andrea Lawlor (Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl) in a unique discussion panel on the celebrated Brazilian author's life and latest work. 

This event will be broadcast live on Zoom. Registering will provide you with a unique access link in an email. During the event, you can ask questions using the Q&A feature, or chat with fellow attendees. A recording of the event will be made available and emailed to all who register.

This author talk is free! You can sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book.


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About Hugs and Cuddles. . .

“In Hugs and Cuddles, our deepest, most intimate erotic transformations are elaborated and played like free jazz by a virtuoso.” —Juan Cárdenas, author of Ornamental

After abandoning his traditional life in a deteriorating Porto Alegre, the narrator of Hugs and Cuddles zealously recommits himself to a man he calls “the engineer”, a childhood friend with whom he shared a pivotal sexual encounter. Many years have passed since their prepubescent wrestling; everywhere around them is a nation in decline. Representatives of the Brazilian state—everyone from government officials to the impoverished—endlessly harass passers-by for donations to “the cause,” even as a mysterious plague rages. Never mind that. Our insatiable narrator, driven to discover his true self through increasingly transgressive sexual urges, is on an epic journey through the shadows of this dysfunctional yet polite society.

The resulting novel is the late João Gilberto Noll’s most radical statement: A Book of Revelations-grade voyage to the end of gender and the outermost reaches of sexual and artistic expression. Nimbly translated from Portuguese by Edgar Garbelotto, Hugs and Cuddles is an unapologetically explicit fable of fluidity that takes readers from decaying city centers to the dark corridors of a mysterious submarine to a miserable hovel in the rainforest, where, at long last, our narrator finds peace.


Praise for Hugs and Cuddles. . .

“Late Brazilian writer João Gilberto Noll offers a breathless exploration of a Porto Alegre man’s sexuality and desire.…[Hugs and Cuddles] transcends erotica for a memorable story of an attempt at liberation.”
Publishers Weekly

“A provocative novel about a Brazilian man's urgent desire for queer connection throughout his life.”
The Bay Area Reporter

“João Gilberto Noll’s unique writing explores the mental whirlwind caused by the mystery of desire. In Hugs and Cuddles, our deepest, most intimate erotic transformations are elaborated and played like free jazz by a virtuoso. This is what great literature tastes like, in another brilliant translation by Edgar Garbelotto.” 
—Juan Cárdenas, author of Ornamental

“The narrator of João Gilberto Noll’s Hugs and Cuddles says they want to be God, and succeeds in a way. Only a writer reaching for the divine could share Noll’s insane, repugnant, sexual imagination—but what makes Hugs and Cuddles of great interest is the explicit nature of its queer imagination and gender dysphoria. On occasion, a novel comes along that requires difficult reading, generosity that borders on obsession, and in return we’re rattled alive. Hugs and Cuddles is relentless in its command… I cannot emphasize this enough: open up; proceed with abandon.”
Spencer Ruchti, Author Events Manager at Third Place Books (Seattle, WA)

“The title Hugs and Cuddles belies the absolutely filthy nature of this book. The narrator, “hopelessly trapped in sexual damnation” pushes the bounds of gender and genre in this wet-dream-within-a-fever-dream of a novel. Boldly and luridly translated by Edgar Garbelotto, Noll’s tale is to be read as compulsively and as furtively as his character conducts his exploits.”
Noah Mintz, Community Bookstore (Brooklyn, NY)

João Gilberto Noll (1946-2017) is the author of nearly twenty books. His work appeared in Brazil's leading periodicals, and he was a guest of the Rockefeller Foundation, King's College London, and the University of California at Berkeley, as well as a Guggenheim Fellow. A five-time recipient of the Prêmio Jabuti, and the recipient of more than ten awards in all, he died in Porto Alegre, Brazil, at the age of seventy.

Edgar Garbelotto is a writer and translator born in Brazil and based in the U.S. for the past 20 years. He is the translator of João Gilberto Noll's Lord ((2019) and Harmada (2020), both published by Two Lines Press. His work has appeared in the Kenyon Review Online, Asymptote, Ninth Letter, Little Patuxent Review, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois. Terra Incognita, written in both Portuguese and English, is his debut novel.

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is the author, most recently, of The Freezer Door, a New York Times Editors’ Choice, one of Oprah Magazine’s Best LGBTQ Books of 2020, and a finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award. Her latest anthology, Between Certain Death and a Possible Future: Queer Writing on Growing Up with the AIDS Crisis, was named one of the “100 Most Influential Queer Books of All Time” by Bookriot. Her next book, Touching the Art, will be published by Soft Skull in November 2023. Sycamore lives in Seattle. (Photo credit: Dorothy Edwards)

Andrea Lawlor teaches writing at Mount Holyoke College, is the recipient of a 2020 Whiting Award for Fiction, and has been awarded fellowships by Lambda Literary and Radar Labs. Their publications include a chapbook, Position Papers (Factory Hollow Press, 2016), and a novel, Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl, a 2018 finalist for the Lambda Literary and CLMP Firecracker Awards. Paul, originally published by Rescue Press in 2017, is out now from Vintage/Knopf (US) and Picador (UK & Ireland).

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