Review: Who Killed the Poet? by Luis de Miranda

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Luis de Miranda's Who Killed the Poet? was published by Snuggly Books in October 2017.

Information about Luis de Miranda:

Luis de Miranda, a novelist and philosopher, was born in 1971, in Portugal, and was raised and has spent most of his life in Paris. He is the author of numerous books, both fiction and non-fiction, which have won him critical praise in France.

Click here to visit his official website.

Information about Who Killed the Poet?:

When Bardo, an architect and poet, dies, his twin brother's first thought is to suspect the intriguing red-haired Ophelia, Bardo's love, who has vanished. A chase across northern Europe commences, which is an elevating initiation to a dimension and understanding the brother narrator ignored. Through the voyage, the past reveals its real visage, while a mysterious child guides the characters to an unexpected climax.

Under the guise of a flawless whodunit thriller, Who Killed the Poet? puts forward an original take on crucial themes, such as generational transmission, the politics of self-determination, and what it is to see life as it truly is, without undermining its complexity, diversity and poetry. A fictional manifesto for the 21st century, and a breathtaking translation of the seventh novel of an author at the peak of his art.


Luis de Miranda's Who Killed the Poet? (original title: Qui a tué le poète?, 2011) is a literary mystery novella with fantastical elements that takes readers on a mesmerising journey and gives them something to think about. In this novella, past, presence and memories intertwine in a memorable way.

Because there's a possibility that not many readers have heard of Luis de Miranda, here are a few words about him. Luis de Miranda is a critically acclaimed author in France. He is the author of several novels and philosophical essays.

Snuggly Books has done a great service to fans of literary fiction by publishing this novella, because it allows many English-speaking readers an opportunity to read the author's fiction for the first time. This is the author's first book in English (it has been translated into English by Tina Kover).

Who Killed Poet? is a marvellous combination of literary fiction and fantastical elements. If you enjoy the literary side of speculative fiction, you'll find this novella enjoyable, because it's fascinatingly different kind of a mystery story. It has a few elements that are slightly reminiscent of Gabriel García Márquez, Jorge Luis Borges and Paulo Coelho, but is distinctly different from the works of these authors.

Although I've read several literary fiction novels and plenty of speculative fiction novels, I can honestly say that I don't recall reading anything quite like this ever before, because it's unlike other stories. I loved this novella, because the unfolding story was simply excellent and the ending was brilliant.

This novella is a story about a brother of a poet and an architect who is trying to find out who killed his twin brother, Bardo (Bernardo), because he was obviously pushed to his death. The brother is convinced that Bardo's lover, Ophelia Lovelace, may have had something to do with his death. The search for Bardo's killer takes the brother to many cities and is filled with revelations and philosophical elements.

The characterisation is intriguing. I especially enjoyed reading about Ophelia Lovelace, because she is like something straight out of a sinister Gothic romance novel. She can be seen as a kind of an alluring femme fatale, because she lied about her health to Bardo and kept things from him while he fell in love with her.

The young boy that only Bardo can see was an intriguing surprise for me, because I didn't expect to find anything like it in the story. The spirit-child who is called Bernardo seems to be Bardo when he was young and Bardo thinks that the child may be the manifestation of his soul. The conversations between Bardo and the spirit-boy are fascinating. I won't write more information about the spirit-boy, but I can mention that what is revealed about him is extremely rewarding.

In this novella, various themes, issues and elements converge and intertwine in a powerful way. This results in a thought-provoking reading experience, because readers can't stop thinking about what they've just read and keep on pondering the happenings after they've finished the story. This novella is not merely mystery fiction, but something more, because the author explores many things in a profoundly effective way. It can be seen as a uniquely told story about life, death and human condition, but it can also be called an exploration of the poetry of life and a meditation on what it means to live and love.

I'm not going to reveal what happens at the end, but I can mention that readers will be thrilled with the unexpected and original climax. This novella has one of the best endings I've read in a while.

The translation by Tina Kover is excellent and nuanced, because the translator has been able to preserve the soul of the original text. I love the author's literary prose, because it's beautiful and filled with meaning. Not a single word is wasted in this novella.

If you enjoy literary fiction with fantastical elements and are looking for something fascinating and unique to read, you should - without any kind of hesitation - take a look at Luis de Miranda's Who Killed the Poet?, because you won't regret reading it. This novella will please and reward readers who love thought-provoking and well written stories.

Highly recommended!