Paulo Scott


A smart and stylish account of the bigotry lurking in hearts and institutions alike.

Federico and Lourenço are brothers. Their father is black, a famed forensic pathologist for the police; their mother is white. Federico – distant, angry, analytical – has light skin, which means he’s always been able to avoid the worst of the racism that Brazilian culture has to offer. He can ‘pass’ as white, and yet, because of this, he has devoted his life to racial justice. Lourenço, on the other hand, is dark-skinned, easy-going, and well-liked in the brothers’ hometown of Porto Alegre – and has become a father himself.

As Federico’s fiftieth birthday looms, he joins a governmental committee in the capital. It is tasked with quelling the increasingly violent student protests rocking Brazil by overseeing the design of a software program that will adjudicate the degree to which each university applicant is sufficiently black to warrant admittance under new affirmative-action quotas. Before he can come to grips with his feelings about this initiative, not to mention a budding romance with one of his committee colleagues, Federico is called home: his niece has just been arrested at a protest carrying a concealed gun. And not just any gun. A stolen police service revolver that Federico and Lourenço hid for a friend decades before. A gun used in a killing.

Paulo Scott here probes the old wounds of race in Brazil, and in particular the loss of a black identity independent from the history of slavery. Exploratory rather than didactic, a story of crime, street-life and regret as much as a satirical novel of ideas, Phenotypes is a seething masterpiece of rage and reconciliation.

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EBook: £6.99

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Find out more about Paulo Scott’s Nowhere People, published by And Other Stories in 2014, and read an extract from the book, here.

Print status: Available
Author: Paulo Scott
Translator: Daniel Hahn
Original language: Portuguese
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date: 4 January 2022
ISBN: 9781913505189
Ebook ISBN: 9781913505196
Availability: World English
Number of pages: 240


Folha de São Paulo

‘Scott seems to have managed to produce a novel that will survive the test of time, a profound interpretation of our time and our country.’

Praise for Paulo Scott and Nowhere People

‘A powerful, complex and very ambitious voice. In the contemporary Latin American literature scene, Paulo Scott is a must-read.’ Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘Paulo Scott is one of the best novelists of his generation and is going to surprise us in the future.’João Gilberto Noll, interviewed by Posfácio magazine

‘One of Scott’s many merits is the audacity he shows, on many levels. Scott dares to create one of the most interesting voices in recent fiction.’ O Globo

Praise for Nowhere People

‘Immensely powerful. [...] This novel tackles post-dictatorship Brazilian ideologies better than anything else in fiction.’ O Estado de São Paulo

‘A lush postmodern spin on the intergenerational state-of-the-nation saga . . . Daniel Hahn’s translation of this somersaulting, playful, emotionally pummelling and occasionally oblique novel is, one assumes, a feat of ventriloquism and linguistic plate-spinning.’ Booktrust

‘Nowhere People is an inexhaustible font of surprises that the author’s firm hand manages to harmonise.’  Rascunho

‘Nowhere People is not your average book.’ Folha de São Paulo

Books by Paulo Scott