Erico Verissimo, special editions
This collection anticipates the re-release of three books by Erico Verissimo (1905-75), an author known for his extensive and remarkable work. The publisher requested a design project which would incorporate a visual essay by guest artist Fernando Vilela. Incidente em Antares [Incident in Antares in a loose translation from its original title in Portuguese], the first book in the collection, was originally published in 1971 and has become one of the most emblematic works of Brazilian literature. The story takes place in a small town in southern region of Brazil that experiences a general strike in 1964. The novel establishes a direct reference to the year when a military dictatorship — which lasted more than 20 years — was established in Brazil after the coup d’etat that took place with the support of the country’s elites. In this Antares strike, even the gravediggers refuse to work, resulting in corpses left unburied. In the daylight, freely wandering the streets, the undead finally feel comfortable delving into others’ privacy and speaking their minds without fear of authority repression. A political critique, a satire of the military dictatorship, and a milestone of magical realism — this is arguably the country’s first zombie book — Incidente em Antares resonates with contemporary times and remains relevant to this day.
The author’s grandeur and the ease of reading his texts guided this graphic project, aiming for a strong design with minimal elements. The use of two distinctive typefaces — a classic serif with informal touches and a condensed sans-serif display — paired with a palette of vibrant and light colors strike a balance between strength and softness. A monochromatic illustration commissioned from Fernando Vilela spans the lower halves of both the front and back covers, making the book inviting to handle. On the cover of this first book, an energetic collage of vulture silhouettes in various positions represents significant passages from the book and can also symbolizes the tense and divisive atmosphere of the threat to democracy. Within the interior, two sequences of images by Fernando Vilela serve as dividers and establish a graphical dialogue with the initial titles of each part.
Companhia das Letras, 2023
illustrations: Fernando Vilela
14.1 × 21.6 cm