Early Mourning ($13.95 paperback original; Jan. 1997; 144 pp.; 0-935480-84-6): A prizewinning Brazilian novel, whose author (A Bag of Stories, not reviewed; etc.) has been both actress and writer--and who in fact originally conceived this as a film script--fashions a multileveled portrayal of So Paulo society, high and low, using an ingenious premise: a robbery in a funeral home throws together in various combinations several otherwise unrelated mourners. An amazing amount of life is packed into comparatively few pages in this swiftly paced, dizzingly amusing novel. It's just the sort of book you hope will become a movie. . . .