Sunday, September 1, 2013

Three of the best books on Brazil

At the Guardian, Pushpinder Khaneka named three of the best books on Brazil. One title on the list:
A Death in Brazil by Peter Robb

Robb eruditely entwines food with history and politics. His book is littered with fascinating digressions and his appetite for culinary delights is matched by an appetite for knowledge.

The sweep through 500 years of history – from colonisation by the Portuguese, through decades of military dictatorship to Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva's first term as president – is entertaining and informative, and often reads like a novel (and a thriller at that). It covers the brutal slavery that lasted longer than anywhere else in the western hemisphere, the destruction of the fugitive slave settlement in Palmares, and the war against the religious community at Canudos. Along the way Robb introduces us to classic Brazilian literary works.

The death of the title is the grisly and mysterious end of PC Farias – fixer and bagman to the corrupt president Fernando Collor de Mello – but there are many other deaths, through genocide, massacres, assassinations and crimes of passion.

The Australian writer, who has lived for many years in Italy and Brazil, paints an affectionate, perceptive portrait of the country – but burns with anger at the monstrous inequities in Brazilian society.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue