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3.63  ·  Rating details ·  104 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
When a Brazilian man's face is disfigured, he attempts a grisly self-surgery in this novel of survival.
Paperback, 198 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Wings Press (first published 1985)
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Nate D
Jan 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the faceless or faceted
Recommended to Nate D by: cracks in the social contract
Shelves: 80s, read-in-2018
Never has the one-line GR description been less effective in conveying what a book actually feel like. Instead look at this old cover image. The artist gets it:

There it is, in all its modernist-symbolist clarity -- a story of visages, masks, and identity in bare and gleaming terms. The story streamlines into more linear, less conceptual space as it goes, unfortunately, but the final episodes dealing with reconstruction of the self/face/identity are tethered in a cold brutal physicality that mak
Michael Grafals
Nov 05, 2014 rated it liked it
The style of Pineda's novel echoes Camus', with its existential appropriation of Hemingway's sparse, action-and-surface oriented sentences. Like Camus' Meursault, Pineda's protagonist is alienated from the start from his surroundings, in this case a Brazilian shanty town. When he severely disfigures his face in a fall, his alienation becomes complete. He loses his job as a barber and is forced to scavenge in the night for food. We see him navigate a tortuous health bureaucracy and suffer anonymo ...more
Nov 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
'Face' is an extraordinary and haunting story on the nature of identity and social norms. Based on a true account, Pineda's work functions as an incredible social commentary on identity politics and societal relations with the labeling of bodies. Go read this. It will traumatize you, but you'll be the better for it.
Nov 05, 2013 rated it liked it
This book has stared at me for years on my shelf calling me to read it. I don’t recall where I got it but I remember that the cover grabbed my attention. Not knowing what the story was about, I started reading this complicated but hauntingly story of a man who lost his face.

The story was told poetically but confusing at the same time. Though this was a narrative, the story developed as if it were a prose. The story of Helio Cara unfolded as Helio ran out to seek his dying mother but instead fell
Martin Fossum
Dec 23, 2014 rated it liked it
An intriguing story told with in the voice of a man who has been disfigured in a landslide accident near his home in (I'm guessing) Rio or Sao Paulo. He is tormented by his poverty, government bureaucracy, and his loss of intimate love. An existential dilemma.

Pineda formed an theater company in San Francisco in the '70s and her prose has an unmistakable likeness to stage direction. "There is a bed in the corner of the room. There is a run-down table with a missing leg propped against the wall. A
Haebitchan Jung
Nov 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
Unfortunately, I did not find this novel to be extraordinary or provocative in totality. Yes, there were tragic moments here and there, but the narrative as a whole failed excite me. The trope of what is a face vis-a-vis identity was interesting to muse on, but the ruminations were quickly spoiled by excess of mundane details of his everyday life and his observations. They were distracting, uninteresting, and in my point of view, elongated the novel more than necessary. I do understand that the ...more
Rob Gall
Jan 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
Face is a novel about a man after he suffers a horrific, disfiguring accident set in a undefined South American country. He is poor and, in "The Capital", lacks most means of support either familial or governmental in looking for help out of his travails. It is a very somber but meaningful and insightful rendering of how one might feel and, out of desperation, approach resolution. The characters were well drawn and interesting. I usually give more than three stars to any book I finish but, in th ...more
Miranda McDonald
Apr 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
The face is the summation of human value. Nothing could illustrate this more than this painful, based on true events, novel. What an amazing, tragic, read.
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