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Brazil [Hardcover]

John Updike
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 April 1994
Tristao is 19, a black street-boy, believing in fate and destiny. Isabel is 18, an upper-class girl fresh from convent school and unafraid of life. Their lives spring together and they are forever in love and in flight - running from her rich father until the undreamed-of happens.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Hamish Hamilton Ltd; First printing. edition (7 April 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241002257
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241002254
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 14.4 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 782,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Updike was born in 1932 in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He attended Shillington High School, Harvard College and the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at Oxford, where he spent a year on a Knox Fellowship. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of the New Yorker, to which he contributed numerous poems, short stories, essays and book reviews. After 1957 he lived in Massachusetts until his death.

John Updike's first novel, The Poorhouse Fair, was published in 1959. It was followed by Rabbit, Run, the first volume of what have become known as the Rabbit books, which John Banville described as 'one of the finest literary achievements to have come out of the US since the war'. Rabbit is Rich (1981) and Rabbit at Rest (1990) were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Other novels by John Updike include Marry Me, The Witches of Eastwick, which was made into a major feature film, Memories of the Ford Administration, Brazil, In the Beauty of the Lilies, Toward the End of Time and Villages. He has written a number of volumes of short stories, and a selection entitled Forty Stories, taken from The Same Door, Pigeon Feathers, The Music School and Museums and Women, is published in Penguin, as is the highly acclaimed The Afterlife and Other Stories. His criticism and his essays, which first appeared in magazines such as The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, have been collected in five volumes. Golf Dreams, a collection of his writings on golf, has also been published. His Collected Poems 1953-1993 brings together almost all the poems from five previous volumes, including 'Hoping for a Hoopoe', 'Telephone Poles' and 'Tossing and Turning', as well as seventy poems previously unpublished in book form. The last books of his to be published by Hamish Hamilton were My Father's Tears and Other Stories, and Endpoint and Other Poems. He died in January 2009.


Product Description

About the Author

John Updike was born in 1932 in Shillington, Pennsylvania. John Updike's first novel, The Poorhouse Fair, was published in 1959. It was followed by Rabbit, Run, Rabbit is Rich (1981) and Rabbit at Rest (1990). Other novels by John Updike include Marry Me, The Witches of Eastwick, which was made into a major feature film, Memories of the Ford Administration, Brazil, In the Beauty of the Lilies and Toward the End of Time. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brazil 22 Oct 2006
Format:Paperback
Brazil is the epic love story of Tristao and Isabel, a young black criminal from the Rio favellas and the rich white daughther of a powerful politician. Meeting on the dazzling sand and surf of Copacabana Beach, there's is a tragic romance that crosses the racial and economic boundaries of one of the world's most inequal countries. They embark on a voyage into Brazil's Heart of Darkness, from the rapid urbanisation of Rio and Sao Paolo to the goldmining frontier towns and pre-colonial civilisations of the interior. Their journey is like a Diego Rivera mural of Brazilian history, culture and sexuality, taking in Shamans and bandits, corrupt politicians and witchcraft, magic and betrayal. Part Homerian Odyssey, it is not an attempt at real-life life drama but more of a representational tableaux. Part Shakespearean tragedy, it has histrionic dialogue and charcaters undergong extraordinary metaphysical transformations. An outsider's dream of the country, for sure, but a vivid and wild ride all the way.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not as good as Rabbit! 9 Jun 2003
Format:Paperback
This was new territory for me - I had only read the Rabbit novels before, and some short stories. This is very different - an epic story of tavel and personal development across Brazil. There are various symbolic elements which underscore various stages of the transformation of the two key characters, and there is much to enjoy. But ultimately it fails to convince. Whereas one has no doubt that Updike knew and understood the middle America of Rabbit, one is left with the uneasy feeling that in Brazil, he has only a tourist's understanding, and that the setting is really a peg on which to hang a magical realist parable which is clever rather than moving.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not to be taken seriously 24 Mar 2012
Format:Paperback
This book is a parody, as some reviewers did spot at the time. Its aim is to make educated idiots reveal themselves - i.e., if you can't see the joke, the joke is on you. A completely empty story, grotesquely over-researched and presented in unnecessarily long and over-wrought sentences, drowned in cliches and encyclopedic information largely copied straight off the sheet, garnished with sex scenes employing vegetable symbolicism galore, while the characters have no personality or development whatsoever and there is no actual plot or anything even remotely psychologically interesting going on at all. The male protagonist even wears the same swimming trunks and uses the same razor blades at the end of the story as he did at the start, twenty or thirty years previously, It's pulp fiction camouflaged dressed up as real literature, like so many best-selling novels have been over the last 30 years, which clearly cheesed off Updike and made him produce this deliberate trash in the extreme. Once you get what's going on (clue: a story built on the melodramatic Weltschmerz libretto behind Wagner's "Tristan and Isolte", but transferred to modern day Brazil!), it's actually quite funny in a few places, but all in all it's a very long drawn stunt and a waste of paper and time. I suppose at least the author can claim it did serve its purpose as a reminder to us all that the old Andersen story of the Emperor and his new clothes is still as relevant as ever, but for me the conclusion would be: read Andersen, don't read this.
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