They Were Many Horses: an analysis of Luiz Ruffato’s book

They Were Many Horses: an analysis of Luiz Ruffato’s book

Ruffato he portrays the world as it is: still, frantic, confused and, at the same time, fragmented on a São Paulo day.

In a search to narrate the unspeakable using urban and human literature with diversity, a completely fragmented book is constructed and expels the reader by the underlying and symbolic violence that permeates all of it.

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The overwhelming and imperious form with “invasion of form and evasion of meaning and without Cartesian understanding”, according to Sergio Mota, provides a narrative in which there is no linear sequence. It matters more to the author than the what.


Anonymous characters from a forgotten class are depicted: the lower middle class. Which is silenced and interrupted by the daily life of the metropolis, which includes exclusion and invisibility, without the chance to tell the story itself.

Lives that, like fragments of, are and can be interrupted. Thus, the author announces in interviews that the book is not a traditional bourgeois novel.

On the contrary, the novel removes the reader from one place. Therefore, allowing a poetic game.

Using the band’s music Charlie Brown Jr, he declares: “I will take you from here” with all the creative, inventive and forceful narrative.

It is a novel, as pointed out in class, without a narrator, but with points of view. And if someone still narrates, it is not who writes, but who lives.

This is a great grace of the work that challenges the life of the lower middle class, the majority of the population, and opens it not as someone who tells and takes speeches, but as someone who shows, reports.

Although subjectively, there is nothing really invented in history that portrays the world. That is, even if it is a story invented by someone, “how many times is the imagination not the origin of the truth?”, According to Sherlock Holmes.

Differential book

The book explains that there are other characters, besides the great heroes of bourgeois novels. In this book, they are horses and roam the cities leaving marks of horseshoes in the semi-paved streets.

Thus, they present themselves not as subjects, because they have no name, coat, among other necessary characteristics. But rather, as objects in the world that, even though they are alien to them, without having them, would not work, would not carry out the translation with the same elegance.

it is a set of cohesive fragments that form a mosaic with a certain intertextuality of very different records: from a shelf described by all the items contained therein to an unusual telephone conversation by a betrayed woman.

The title of the work is inspired by the poem, by Cecília Meireles. According to the author, in an interview Journal of PUC (9/5/2019), the passage of the poem summarizes the message present throughout the novel.

The name of the book is a synthesis of the whole. The question of anonymous characters, all in search of something, is a good description of what is going on inside him.

Necessary observations

What matters is who are the people behind your stories, who are the people who are living that. The literature of Ruffato strives for intimacy, for the individuality of a class that is seen as homogeneous, without dreams and without ambitions.

In the same interview, the writer confesses that the idea of ​​is someone who walks through the city and, therefore, does not hear whole stories. Then, listen to pieces of stories, fragments.

It’s a bus ride where you see a guy on the phone, are curious to know the story and he leaves without you knowing the outcome. What matters is that I bring the reader into the narrative and that he becomes a co-author of the story.

Ruffato, author of

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The narrator, not authoritarian and all in fragments, presents himself as the figure of, who sees quick and dry cuts of the moments of life in cities and contrasts with that of – an attentive observer and ready to notice everything around him. It is the figure of a city in ruins.

After all, what’s the story?

it has no history as such and no definite principle, means and end. It is written on paper that reacts to the content, even if it is concretely form.

Through the use of precarious poetics, Ruffato applies a language that mirrors the human condition with different narrative rhythms between the chapters. In order to show the social diversity that can be noticed even in the use of language.

It is an intense, dynamic and dramatic reading that immerses and repels the reader at the same time, causing a movement. Just as the city applies in the inertia of the bodies that crawl through it.

They are seams of narratives that do not meet and do not cross; almost stories that do not create a mature story, but that carry tangles of points of view.


The imagination that runs through the book swallows up any possibility of monotony in the author’s writing and the book’s too much disturbance.

Reading Ruffato in the middle of the crowded subway is an involuntary, ironic and rich immersion. They are all the faces present in the book and I still do not know their coat and origins.

Their anonymity is like one of those amusement park frames in which you can put your head there, and although the mix may not be perfect, there is an exchange of positions and an exacerbation of empathy.

The reality described is, viscerally, that of those who live in the poor class. Which the author clearly seeks to describe even though it perpetrates the miserable and the richest.

They are untold stories and Ruffato does not put them in the linearity that they are stuck in everyday.

The author’s writing emphasizes the act of showing more than counting and defends a process of enumeration and repetition that, in its huddle, exposes the urban wretch through the cumulative process of reading, making it possible to notice which social mark is being spoken there.

By Gustavo Magalhães – Speak! PUC RIO