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July 2016

Brazil Beyond Rio

Image: Eliseu Cavalcante, "Estrada Real," from the series The Golden Passage, 2015. Photograph. © Eliseu Cavalcante. Courtesy of the artist.

This month, we’re off to Brazil for a different look at the South American giant that will host this year's Olympic Games. The writers here—both those from abroad and those from Brazil—set out to rediscover and portray the diverse Brazils within this dynamic country. Artur Domosławski, winner of Poland’s prestigious Journalist of the Year Award, brings us a chronicle of deaths foretold, French writer Hubert Tézenas spins a tale of forced confessions and murder, and American writer Naomi Jackson reflects on blackness in Brazil and the pleasure of the soft thud of Brazilian Portuguese rolling off baiano tongues. João Guimarães Rosa, the greatest Brazilian writer after Machado de Assis, brings us his Joycean tale of central Brazil, while Lúcio Cardoso tells of the dissolution of a patriarchal family. Caio Fernando Abreu brings us a story of a dying man in search of his mother’s acceptance. Award-winning contemporary writers Ronaldo Correia de Brito and Carlos Henrique Schroeder capture lost childhood through the lens of tradition and the earphones of a broken Walkman. In our poetry feature, “Brazil in Verse,” Edival Lourenço pays homage to the important twentieth-century poet Ferreira Gullar, Micheliny Verunschk contemplates existence from the edge of a coral reef, and the Best Translated Book Award-winning team of Angélica Freitas and Hilary Kaplan provide a journey to Ithaca. All told, these writers represent seven states from North to South. Though the work of many reflects on each writer’s locale, they also make the case for the universality of Brazilian literature. And on the visual side, Brazilian photographer Eliseu Cavalcante contributes our cover artwork and a folio focused on the struggle of the Terena, an indigenous tribe, to reclaim their lands in Mato Grosso do Sul.

We also thank Mirna Queiroz of Revista Pessoa for her contribution as a co-curator of the Brazilian writers featured here.

Brazil Beyond Rio

The writers here—both those from abroad and those from Brazil—set out to rediscover and portray the diverse Brazils within this dynamic country.

Grande Sertão: Veredas (Bedeviled in the Badlands)

Are you like me, sir? I didn’t buy a word.


The Time Left

Work is too ambiguous a word. Does life work? No, it always wrecks.

Death in the Amazon

But first they sever José Cláudio’s right ear.


“It’s impossible for a sister recluse to sing like that. We no longer feel those emotions.”


Beauty, a Terrible Story

“Who cares about an old wreck?”

Esperança Terena

While he was with the Terena, he captured their lives: a mix of hope, spirituality, and a constant fear of losing their land once again.

Quipapá Gold

He recruits men and trains them and organizes all sorts of crime from his cell.

Falling in Love with Bahia & Brazil: On Negritude, Saudade, & Surrender

I’d taken a few capoeira classes that left me barely able to walk.

The Pharmacist’s First Report

“One does not kill wolves with poison.”


Book Reviews

“Among Strange Victims” by Daniel Saldaña París

Reviewed by Petrina Crockford

A psychedelic slog through the pleasures and mysteries of slacking off and not measuring up.

“The First Wife: A Tale of Polygamy” by Paulina Chiziane

Reviewed by Carolyn Silveira

The economics of love and marriage in a country burdened with a history of violent conflict.

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