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Foreign rights are handled by Cecília Raneri


Antônio Xerxenesky was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 1984, and based in São Paulo. A writer and translator, he is the author of four novels, including the award-winning An infinite sadness (2021, more info below) and F (2014), which was shortlisted for the São Paulo Literature Award and longlisted for the Prix Médicis Etranger in France, where he is published by Asphalte.


Xerxenesky was writer-in-residence at the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program in 2015 and at the Fondation Jan Michalski in 2017. His work has been translated into French, Spanish, Italian and Arabic.

He holds a PhD in Literary Theory (Universidade de São Paulo) and has translated over 30 books from English and Spanish to Portuguese, including novels by Mario Levrero, Fernanda Melchor, Juan Villoro, George Orwell and Herman Melville. 


Since 2023, Xerxenesky acts as a senior editor at Companhia das Letras (Penguin/Random House), working with contemporary fiction and handling the Penguin Classics imprint in Brazil.

An Infinite Sadness

A novel of ideas, both introspective and brutal, inspired by the works of Robert Musil, W. G. Sebald and Hermann Broch.

WINNER: Best Novel -- Prêmio São Paulo

SHORTLISTED for the Candango Award and LONGLISTED for the Jabuti Award.


Nicolas, a young French psychiatrist, is invited to work in Switzerland shortly after the end of World War II. Together with his wife Anna, he moves to a small Swiss village, close to the psychiatric hospital where he works. Known for its humane treatment methods, the hospital accepts patients from all over Europe. Nicolas is resistant to prescribe treatments like electroshock therapy, preferring to talk with his patients until something is uncovered—either in the patient’s unconscious mind or his own.

In these conversations, various war wounds are brought to the surface, in a delicately balanced game combining trust and madness. The young psychiatrist confronts then demons of historical guilt and seeks to reconcile his materialism with spirituality. Set against the backdrop of the development of the first drugs to treat depression and other mental illnesses, and while discussing issues that are still pertinent to our times, Antônio Xerxenesky’s touching novel forces us to confront past traumas and, above all, to face our fears for the future.

Even though the story takes place in 1950s Europe, it is also a meditation on contemporary mental health crisis and a metaphor for the lingering of fascist ideas around the world, with specific references to Brazil's current situation.

France (Asphalte), United Kingdom (Charco Press)

Praise for An Infinite Sadness

“After forays into several different genres, Antônio Xerxenesky now gives us his densest, most harrowing work yet, a novel of ideas as limpid and frosty as the Swiss Alps that frame it. The reader finishes the book with the feeling that sadness really is almost infinite. In the clash between the chaos of life and intellect, flickers of transcendence and affection
ultimately arise."

Daniel Galera, author of Twenty After Midnight
and Blood-Drenched Beard

"When scientific reason fails to appease doubts, what else is there for a skeptical, sensitive psychiatrist treating patients soon after World War II? The melancholy of this book also affects the reader who, so many years and so much pharmacology later, still doesn’t have the answers. A novel that puts us in a state of being on the brink: of faith, of love, and self-discovery."

Noemi Jaffe, author of What are the Blind Men Dreaming?

"The interplay between tension and distension, Eros and Thanatos, Jekyll and Hyde, present in his previous books, reaches his most sophisticated point: Xerxenesky measures the antidote as he administers the poison, building a subtle passage between one and the other, where the smallest dose can be fatal."


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