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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction


A Cup of Rage

Raduan Nassar

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To purchase A Cup of Rage

Title: A Cup of Rage
Author: Raduan Nassar
Genre: Novel
Written: 1978 (Eng. 2015)
Length: 45 pages
Original in: Portuguese
Availability: A Cup of Rage - US
A Cup of Rage - UK
A Cup of Rage - Canada
A Cup of Rage - India
Un verre de colère - France
Ein Glas Wut - Deutschland
Un bicchiere di rabbia - Italia
Un vaso de cólera - España
  • Portuguese title: Um copo de cólera
  • Translated by Stefan Tobler

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Our Assessment:

B+ compact, fervent

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
FAZ . 20/12/1991 A.M.Cortes-Kollert
The Guardian A+ 12/1/2016 Nicholas Lezard
The National . 7/1/2016 Malcom Forbes
The Times . 26/12/2015 Fiona Wilson
TLS . 20/4/2016 Lorna Scott Fox

  From the Reviews:
  • "Was uns Nassar vor Augen hält, ist vielmehr der Versuch zweier Menschen, im Kampf gegeneinander eine Rolle aufrechtzuerhalten, die sie dem anderen für die eigene Identität zu verkaufen versuchen. Während der Mann sich in die Rolle des einsamen und rauhen Helden Hemingwayscher Prägung steigert, spielt sie alle Register eines zur Schau gestellten sozialen Verantwortungsbewußtseins durch." - Ana Maria Cortes-Kollert, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

  • "A Cup of Rage is a burning coal of a work, superbly translated by Stefan Tobler. You may consider a book this short to be scarcely worthy of the name, but it packs more power into its scant 47 pages than most books do into five or 10 times as many. (...) It is, in fact, incredibly sexy." - Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian

  • "Clocking in at a mere 45 pages, it nevertheless packs in drama, vitriol and linguistic fireworks, and ends up speaking volumes." - Malcom Forbes, The National

  • "Underneath, however, itís just the elemental battle of the sexes, and a grim ripping off of the masks of power. (...) With no full stops for recovering breath or balance, reading Nassar is an intense experience. (...) A Cup of Rage, in Stefan Toblerís fine translation, drags us at rising speed through a bleak, spiky desert" - Lorna Scott Fox, Times Literary Supplement

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       A Cup of Rage is a compact, slim novel of under fifty pages. Each of its seven chapters -- six short ones and one (the appropriately titled centerpiece, 'The Explosion') more expansive one -- is a single sentence. The story basically amounts to a younger woman, a journalist, coming to visit her lover, an older man, on his farm; they sleep together and she spends the night, the next day he goes off, on her and everything around him. All the chapters save the last are told from his perspective; the final chapter -- titled, like the first, 'The Arrival' -- is a coda that brings the story full-circle, and is told from her perspective.
       The two are physically passionate, the novel's beginnings very much in heat, and the physical connection, from his arrival back home (where she's already been waiting) through the next morning, is deep and involved. The explosion comes the next morning, nominally triggered by the man's discovery that leaf-cutter ants had gnawed away a good chunk of his protective hedge. He goes after the ants -- but takes it out on everyone around him too, the help as well as his lover. A cup of rage spills over .....
       The relationship between the man and the woman is, above all, passionate. They are very different -- denouncing each other as: a "shitty intellectual" and an: "old fascist" -- and their differences rise to the fore in their heated confrontation. The 'explosion' between them also reflects Brazilian society and issues, variations on what bubbles and burns in society itself, the complex history of the country (which was still under military rule when the book was published) reflected in this small-scale domestic conflict.
       Nassar effectively presents two very passionate and different people, and neatly reflects much larger societal and historical issues in their small but extremely heated conflict. This is a novel that goes quickly to its many points: whether the sex or dealing with the ants or in straight-up confrontation, Nassar doesn't bide much time. The single-sentence approach in each of the chapters adds to the sense of immediacy.
       However short, this is a harsh, loud, bright narrative. Ugly, too, in parts -- the confrontations are raw -- but all the more authentic-feeling for that.
       An effective, powerful little novel.

- M.A.Orthofer, 8 January 2017

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A Cup of Rage: Reviews: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Brazilian author Raduan Nassar was born in 1935.

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© 2017 the complete review

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