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ÉRICO VERÍSSIMO’S NARRATIVE ABOUT MEXICO: QUESTIONING ONESELF LUÍS ALFREDO FERNANDES DE ASSIS Sinto saudade da desordem latino-americana, das imagens sons e cheiros de nosso mundinho em que o relógio é apenas um elemento decorativo e o tempo, assunto de poesia. Dêem-me o México, o mágico México, o absurdo México! (México 13) IN this article, I will analyze Érico Veríssimo’s perceptions of Mexico to see if the Brazilian author, as expected, identifies with another Latin American culture. Veríssimo went to Mexico as a tourist in an attempt to delve into the culture. His account of the things he saw and learned on the trip is a document of his profound interest in Mexico. Veríssimo’s journey in the spring of 1955 is narrated in a book that portrays the country and its culture with a humanistic touch. The author titled the work México (1957). In the Prologue, Veríssimo writes about his decision to visit Mexico. He needs a vacation away from his work as a diplomat since he had been living in the United States for a while and felt tired of the focus on organization in that country. The author complained about the fact that he was not able to write a single line when he was in the United States; it seemed that he had nothing to say about that country, “Desde que cheguei [nos Estados Unidos], não escrevi uma linha sequer. Não sinto gana” (13). Then he explains why, “[pelo] simples fato de não ter nascido aqui, não possuir um passado neste país, raízes sentimentais nesta terra...Ou que eu sinta falta dos atritos brasileiros” (13). Veríssimo does not have much to say about the United States and its pragmatic way of life, but he feels inspired to write a great deal as soon as he and his wife arrive in Mexico for their tour. The author felt this inspiration by the fact that he arrived in a Third World country. The 327 United States represented at that time nothing new and exotic to Veríssimo . In fact, he became bored with that country and its system, and decided to look for exoticism or to taste something that was missing in his life, therefore, the trip to Mexico. He thought that, since he was not American, he could not identify with the United States. The fact that he always associated himself with Socialism and in the 1950s he was working and living in one of the most Capitalist countries probably bothered him. At this point, Veríssimo wished to see something that reminded him of his own land, Brazil. He missed the Latin American atritos and the exotic to contrast with the excess of organization of the First World. Veríssimo’s description of details of Mexico, as in his fictional works, reveals his ability of observation and analyses of the world. He gazes at society with the intent of capturing in words the types, the habits, the behavior of people. He observes the different peoples of that country and narrates the way he sees them and gives his opinions about their behavior. As this eye/I – namely, that of the narrator in his novels – looks at what is around him, he analyzes the setting from his point of view, necessarily a biased one. He gazes at things and at people while classifying them according to types and social patterns. People’s habits and behavior are presented to the reader through the mediation of a fictional narrator, whose stamp of interpretation we have learned to dissociate from the author himself. In the case of travel writing, however, the traveler announces himself as author and narrator at the same time, thus taking responsibility for any trace of cultural bias in the classification of the country being visited. In México, readers, especially the ones from Latin America, expect to find a narrative telling them how close Veríssimo is to Mexican culture . However, after reading his travel account, one has a different interpretation of the author’s vacation in that country. Veríssimo, as the...


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pp. 327-334
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