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Brian Sousa leaves sentiment and saudade behind in Almost Gone, a linked collection spanning four generations of a Portuguese immigrant family. In this hardscrabble world, the youth struggle with the secrets left behind by their elders, as their parents fought through the pain and joy of assimilation. Told through various perspectives, Almost Gone is a working-class tale of survival that finds no easy answers, but cuts straight to the bone.
A New England Memoir
This gripping memoir is both a personal story and a portrait of a distinctive New England place--Fall River, Massachusetts, once the cotton cloth capital of America. Growing up, Joseph Conforti's world was defined by rolling hills, granite mills, and forests of triple-deckers. Conforti, whose mother was Portuguese and whose father was Italian, recounts how he negotiated those identities in a city where ethnic heritage mattered. Paralleling his own account, Conforti shares the story of his family, three generations of Portuguese and Italians who made their way in this once-mighty textile city.
First published in 1711, Brazil at the Dawn of the Eighteenth Century describes the four major economic activities of the Brazilian colony. Half the book is devoted to the sugar industry and the social world of those who grew the sugarcane. Other sections give a detailed view of the tobacco industry. Further, this work describes where and how gold was extracted, the new and old routes connecting Minas Gerais with the coast, and the rough-and-tumble world of the miners. Antonil concludes with discussion of the economic importance of cattle, and information on Brazilian exports and taxes. No other work provides this level of eyewitness detail.
Born from the fertile volcanic soil and the sea and mists surrounding the Azorean islands, the characters who inhabit these stories blend realism with magic. Like the nine Muses, each island has its own special attributes. Whether searching for love, power, or meaning, these characters are subject to the whims of Fate and Fortune. Here the commonplace present confronts forces both natural and supernatural. In the Azorean microcosm, they come to represent a far larger sphere, embodying the foibles and idiosyncrasies of humanity the world over.
Rubem Fonseca's Crimes of August offers the first serious literary treatment of the cataclysmic events of August 1954, arguably the most turbulent month in Brazilian history.
A rich novel, both culturally and historically, Crimes of August tells two stories simultaneously. The first is private, involving the well-delineated character of Alberto Mattos, a police officer. The other is public, focusing on events that begin with the attempted assassination of Carlos Lacerda, a demagogic journalist and political enemy of President Getulio Vargas, and culminate in Vargas's suicide on August 24,1954. Throughout this suspenseful novel, deceptively couched as a thriller, Fonseca interweaves fact and fiction in a complex, provocative plot. At the same time, he re-creates the atmosphere of the 1950s, when Rio de Janeiro was Brazil's capital and the nexus of political intrigue and corruption.
Mattos is assigned to solve the brutal murder of a wealthy entrepreneur in the aftermath of what appears to be a homosexual liaison. An educated and introspective man, and one of the few in his precinct not on the take from the "bankers" of the illegal lottery, Mattos suffers from alienation and a bleeding ulcer. His investigation puts him on a dangerous collision course with the conspiracy to depose Vargas, the novel's other narrative thread. The two overlap at several points, coming to their tragic end with the aged politician's suicide and Mattos's downfall.
Set in Tokyo, in a not-too-distant future, this novel tells the story of Shunsuke, a salaryman, and his complicated relationship with his mad poet father, Mr. Okuda, whose hobby is spying on his son. When Shunsuke falls in love with Iulana, a maelstrom of jealousy is set in motion that culminates in abduction and death. In poetic and imaginative language, Cuenca subtly interweaves reality and fiction, creating a dreamlike world whose palpable characters, including a silicone doll, leave a lasting impression. Written like a crime novel, full of odd events and reminiscent of Haruki Murakami’s work, this disturbing, kaleidoscopic story of voyeurism and perversion draws the reader in from the very first page.
A satiric masterpiece, one of the funniest novels in European literature, and a profound critique of religion, science, and history The Relic is an irreverent fictional autobiography narrating the picaresque adventures of Teodorico, a Portuguese playboy determined to be the sole heir of his absurdly pious, sexually repressed, and tyrannical Auntie. Sent to the Holy Land, he returns with what he presumes is the “relic of relics” in hopes of persuading Auntie to bequeath her vast fortune to him. While in Jerusalem, Teodorico has a vision in which he witnesses Christ’s trial and crucifixion and the founding of Christianity—with a twist.
Set in the Middle Ages but written in the early twentieth century, Eça de Queirós’s novella, Saint Christopher, is a powerful indictment of those who profess the value of morality but who do not practice it. The narrative is just as relevant today—when issues of religion, hypocrisy, and social justice are more urgent than ever—as it was when it first appeared in 1912. Written as though it were the product of a dialogue between Jesus and Proudhon (whose theories animate much of the narrative), Saint Christopher challenges today’s ethically motivated reader to do what the narrative’s protagonist does, that is, take up the cause of the wretched and abused of this earth.
In these seventeen stories by one of Brazil's foremost living authors, Fonseca introduces readers--with unsurpassed candor and keenness of observation--to a kaleidoscopic, often disturbing world. A hunchback sets his lascivious sights on seducing a beautiful woman. A wealthy businessman hires a ghost writer, with unexpected results. A family of modern-day urban cannibals celebrates a bizarre rite of passage. A man roams the nocturnal streets of Rio de Janeiro in search of meaning. A male ex-police reporter writes an advice column under a female pseudonym. A prosperous entrepreneur picks up a beautiful girl in his Mercedes only to discover his costly mistake. A loser elaborates a lethal plan to become, in his mind, a winner.