OUR ONLY HOME was in Minas do Leão. The house was a salmon colored, two-story cube, with windows on all four sides, which made us feel as though we knew all there was to know about our town and its people.
On the humid pampas of Brazil, the hardworking Fonte family leaves their home when the military takes over the local mine. Uprooted to Porto Alegre, father Antonio struggles in the crowded city, while Pablo, the oldest son, gets swept into the resistance movement. With Pablo's disappearance, Rose, their mother, holds the family close, defying the unthinkable, while Luca, the youngest, comes of age in a household shadowed by oppression. Spanning the ‘60s through the ‘80s, THE MARBLE ARMY is tightly told, from haunting points of view, a lyrical testament to the families transformed by one of history’s most unforgiving regimes.
"Gisele Firmino's debut novel is an exquisite, intimate epic about family, injustice and resistance, set during one of the darkest chapters of Latin America's history. With precise prose, heartfelt observations and unforgettable characters and scenes, she transports us to a time and place we need to see and know."
- Héctor Tobar, The Barbarian Nurseries
"Gisele Firmino’s gorgeous debut novel The Marble Army is a fierce lyrical tribute to the families that lived through the 1964 Brazilian coup d'état and its painful aftermath. Both a stark and unwavering look into the way violence, fear, and silence poisons a culture, and a delicate homage to the way life, despite it all, somehow finds a way to flourish, The Marble Army is a true novel of witness. Ultimately, this stunning first book is a powerful love song to those that believe hope cannot be stamped out."
- Ada Limon, Sharks in the Rivers
"Part dream-novel, part political thriller, and entirely engrossing, THE MARBLE ARMY marks the debut of a truly gifted young writer. Gisele Firmino depicts the 1964 Brazilian coup and its terrible aftermath with remarkable clarity and sympathy. Hers is a rare and enviable talent."
- Pinckney Benedict, Miracle Boy and Other Stories
"It’s hard to imagine that anyone could distill the experience of ordinary Brazilian people through three decades of brutal military dictatorship into a single novel. But in THE MARBLE ARMY Gisele Firmino does so, cleaving to the plight of Luca and his family as they navigate these tragic and momentous years. She brings to life intimately and lyrically what it can be too easy to forget: that history happens to real people, and that what is lost under such oppression—the voice and life of a generation—can be irrevocable. This is a masterful debut, multi-faceted, expertly assured, and beautifully written."
- Naeem Murr, The Perfect Man
Gisele Firmino earned a BA from Pepperdine University and an MFA in Fiction from Queens University of Charlotte. Born and raised in the south of Brazil, Gisele’s writing has appeared in such journals as Expressionists and Rose & Thorn. She works as a freelance translator and lyricist and is also the founding locale coordinator for Queens University’s MFA in Creative Writing: Latin America. She currently divides her time between Brazil and the United States. The Marble Army is her first novel.