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Dzanc Books is nonprofit press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. In addition to publishing activities, Dzanc Books also supports the Disquiet International Literary Program.

The True Actor, by  Jacinto Lucas Pires

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The True Actor, by Jacinto Lucas Pires


The True Actor, by Jacinto Lucas Pires

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The favored prostitute of Lisbon’s rich and powerful has been found dead amid austerity protests in Portugal, and down-on-his-luck actor Americo Abril, who has just won the role of a lifetime playing Paul Giamatti in the avant-garde film Being Paul Giamatti, is the prime suspect.

Abril seeks the real killer, and he grapples with what it means to be Paul Giamatti. Confounded by the role he plays in the film and the roles that he plays in real life—weary dad, blocked artist, henpecked husband, miserable lover, wanted man—Abril struggles to hold together himself, his family, and his country.

The True Actor, the English debut by award-winning Portuguese author Jacinto Lucas Pires, manages both a postmodern boondoggle and a touching story of identity and love and loss in austerity-era Portugal.


“The True Actor is a true pleasure–wise and funny with a subtle gravity and a wild hallucinatory streak. It brilliantly examines the state of a nation through one man's state of mind. Jacinto Lucas Pires is a powerful voice in modern fiction, charming, fearless, flourishing at the crossroads of the playful and the dire." —Sam Lipsyte, author of The Fun Parts and The Ask

“Politically conscious, cinematic, and everything else that is characteristic of the literature of Lucas Pires, all absorbed into and shaken out in a game of conscience in which he holds all the cards. And this book is his royal flush.” TimeOut Lisbon

“Jacinto Lucas Pires’ third novel is a powerful political and social commentary, rooted in the character of a young actor steeped in the reality of his country’s current crisis.” —Espresso

“No other author could deconstruct, with such proficiency, our quotidian reality...” —Miguel Real, Jornal de Letras, Artes e Ideias


Jacinto Lucas Pires was born in Porto in 1974 and now lives in Lisbon. He is a writer, playwright, director, musician, and soccer aficionado. The True Actor won the 2013 Domingos da Silva Teixeira Distinguished Literature Award for the best book published in Portugal in the past two years. Pires won the prestigious Prémio Europa–David Mourão-Ferreira (Bari University, Italy/Instituto Camões, Portugal) in 2008. He plays with the band Os Quais. Several translations of his short prose recently appeared in an issue of The St. Petersburg Review translated by Jaime Braz and Dean Thomas Ellis.