The Case of the Exquisite Cadaver

Prado’s First book
Devised by 11 authors and a designer

The Case of the Exquisite Cadaver is a book written by 24 hands (11 writers and a designer) which reports the case of a Portuguese detective who investigates a peculiar series of crimes – and through the mysterious inscriptions on the bodies of the victims – discovers the essence of his own nature: as poet…and murderer.

A whodunit novel, based on the surrealist cadavre-exquis formula, bringing together, under the same cover, the contributions of some of the most promising and unusual authors currently writing in the Portuguese language.

The Case of the Exquisite Cadaver was born in the context of another Prado’s project – Alkantara’s Auto-Radio, a digital radio station that was broadcast at, during June of 2010, reporting and (re)creating short features around the alkantara Festival of Performing Arts. Eleven authors were challenged to write a surrealist cadavre-exquis in the form of a detective novel, with only the previously written chapters as their starting point, and without any metric or stylistic limitations other than that of time: 1 day to read, 1 day to write.
The Case of the Exquisite Cadaver quickly became one of the most successful items, presented daily at the beginning of each broadcast, read and embodied by the voices of several actors and/or by the authors themselves.

The result was the thrilling series of crimes presented in the book of the same name. Each episode maintains the freshness of the radio text written at speed, but now enveloped in the final exqui and exquisit contribution, that of the final guest author: the graphic designer and illustrator.

Prado, can only thank the enthusiasm and generosity with which all of the makers participated in creation of this precious book.

Title: The Case of the Exquisite Cadaver
Authors: Afonso Cruz, Jacinto Lucas Pires, Joana Bértholo, Luís Caminha, Maria João Lima (design), Miguel Castro Caldas, Ondjaki, Patrícia Portela, Paulo Condessa, Pedro Medina Ribeiro, Rita Taborda Duarte, Sandro William Junqueira.
Prado’s editing and production: Isabel Garcez, Helena Serra, Patrícia Portela and Pedro Pires.
1st Edition, April 2011
500 numbered copies
Printing and finishing: Digital 21
ISBN: 978-989-20-2312-0
All publishing rights reserved © Associação Cultural Prado


“The narrator is a detective living in the Bairro das Colónias and investigating the case of a mysterious murderer-poet who makes a point of leaving verses tattooed on his victims.
Due to its structure perhaps there are no dead moments in this book (…) and the authors are mostly ingenious in the way they end their chapters: with the phone ringing or the arrival of a mysterious package, thus providing the following author’s creative spur”.
“The best way to present this book, according to Patrícia Portela, is to say that “it is a z cop series in which many people are killed in an incoherent way. This is a high quality book, in spite and because of the nonsense that it is, and worth keeping in our homes for the next 10 years, by which time these writers will be big stars and Nobel candidates”.
Ana Dias Ferreira | TimeOut Lisbon | May 11 2011

“The authors who helped build this project, are no doubt, different and alternative (…) editing and production by Prado Cultural Association”.
Pedro Lança, Livros e Leituras, May 2011

“bringing together different styles and outlooks, starting from a single point of contact that sets up the union, is the philosophy of any cadvre-exquis (…) each writer had one day to read what was written before and another one to carry on with the story”.
“What appeals in this tale is the diversity of styles and the way that, despite their differences, they blend harmoniously. Although written by 22 hands, all the cycles a narrative of this kind requires can be found in this story (…) now refuting the previous author, now emphasizing his ideas, each writer found a way to create his own territory, whilst making the whole greater than the sum of its constituent parts. Here’s another lesson that is worth retaining from Surrealism”.
Luís Ricardo Duarte | Suplemento i | May 26 2011

“We will have to wait a decade to know if the authors privileged by today’s establishment will fade into insignificance in the light of the up-and-coming generation, emblematically announced by The Case of the Exquisite Cadaver”.
Miguel Real | Os Dias da Prosa | Jornal de Letras | July/August 2011

“A collective novel written by a group of young authors releases a breath of fresh air. The Case of the Exquisite Cadaver is a detective novel that pays homage to literature”.
“Deep down, this is an exercise in language and its possibilities, that introduces us to a healthy slice of the new literary generation, through the dismantling of a common literary vehicle, whilst still honoring the poetic, with a healthy sense of irony: Damn poetry, be it foreign, or Portuguese. It never comes to simplify, always to tangle up the brain”.
João Morales | Os Meus Livros | September 2011