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City of God Paperback – 1 May 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (1 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747576807
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747576808
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 207,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Paulo Lins was born in Rio de Janeiro and at age seven moved to the 'City of God', where he was raised. He escaped the cycle of violence there to become an internationally celebrated writer. He still lives in Rio.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Zipit on 26 July 2007
Format: Paperback
The previous commenter obviously didn't read the blurb on the back of the book before purchasing. How can you expect a book on gangwars in Brazil to not be violent? The words across the top of the front cover summarise the book, and indeed it is a stunning masterpiece.

This book is probably the most violent book I have ever read, yet at the same time, the typically short and sharp violent paragraphs, many of them self-contained stories in themselves, are used as a way to set the scene and for the reader to understand the morals and outlook of those in the City of God from several perspectives.

The book feels well-organised, and although has a slightly less direct storyline than the film of the same name, the book is by far much more memorable. Lins does an excellent job of making the city real by making characters arrive, leave, grow up and die throughout the course of the novel. The book never feels static, it feels alive - maybe because it is reportedly based on a true story. His descriptions of everything, from violence to sex to scenery of Brazil are carefully-crafted and page turning, frank yet engrossing.

This is an amazing book and I would highly recommend that anyone who likes good books makes a purchase of it. I cannot recommend it enough. Yes, it's is violent but it really has a unique character and something about human nature, horrific or otherwise, that really shines through.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. P. D. James on 26 Dec. 2007
Format: Paperback
I bought this novel based on the strength of reviews of the film that was born out of it with the intention of reading the novel before watching the film. The novel proved to be an exhausting yet rewarding read in which the lives led by the many characters is displayed in a frank and brutal manner.

The book's success is in its depiction of the violent yet mesmerising world of the Brazilian favela. Written in a style that is always hard hitting, the violence, sex and language of the novel can be initially shocking although entirely appropriate for the setting of the tale. The prose does not fall into the trap of becoming vulgar despite dealing with issues that are all too easy to portray in a coarse and unpleasing manner. Alongside death, drugs and debauchery, the novel reflects the flamboyant character of Rio's favelas; their parties, carnivals and night-long sambas, in an unforgettable and poetic style.

The novel is split into three sections each of which follows the rise and fall of an era's gangs. As the book progresses through the sections, the reader will notice becoming increasingly desensitized to the death of characters. On my first reading I was left feeling that perhaps a lack of character development in the final section in particular allowed such a feeling of disassociation from the violence to occur. However, on second reading I felt it was indeed the aim of the author to desensitize the reader; much as many of the gang members, most of who are little more than children, are desensitized to the horrific acts they commit. This feeling runs hand in hand with the exhaustion experienced through reading a book in which protagonists rarely sleep let alone rest.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Chi-18. on 30 Nov. 2006
Format: Paperback
Any other book you read concerning 'Favela Life' is an imitaion of this original, nothing comes closer than this classic. If you have seen and enjoyed the movie trust me when I say the book is twice as nice. You may struggle at first to see the movie version in the pages of this book but soon you just don't care as you build fresh mental images that even a top of the range HD T.V can't give.
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By Francis on 5 April 2011
Format: Paperback
Like most of us i saw the film before i picked up the book.

If you thought the film was grim and heartless wait untill you read the book, there are no saints in this book the film looks like a little hollywood fairtale in comparasson. At first i was annoyed as my favourite charactures turned out to be utter demoinds and killing seems to be synomouse with washing your hands or relaxing after a particularly large meal. Yet beneif all this there is this incredabily humanistic side that draws me in.

I read all but 50 pages of this book within 5 days, i have been working of late so haven't had time to finnish. However what i can say is the style really drags you in you find you have read 50 pages without even straining.

I would recomend this to all, however i would say if you are of a weeker disposition you are best advised to leave it. it may also be worth while bearing in mind that this book was translated and therefor does not conform to stand grammatical structures or even cohearance of what you may have been used to: but trust me once you get into this running type writing you won't be able to put it down.
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By m. dosa on 30 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
this book is a graphic and violent account of gangsters lives in the favella virtually every page drips with blood and victims amass.the average gangster want fame and wealth but normally finds death.the central character is a horror brutal and vicious.this book does,nt read as that sympathetic most characters that want to escape the gangster life fail,also looks at police corruption and murder indeed they seem to be gangters in uniform.the book is much harsher than the film
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