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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mesmerizing Tale of Early 20th Century Brazil
Employing a vast literary canvas that may remind readers of Leo Tolstoy and Cormac McCarthy in its eloquent language and detail, first-time novelist Frances De Pontes Peebles' "The Seamstress" is a literary triumph in its exquisite portrayal of the Dos Santos sisters. Hers is a vivid novel of stark contrasts, comparing and contrasting the lives of these two seamstress...
Published on 2 Oct 2008 by John Kwok

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Seamstress
Judging by the other reviews, I guess this must be a book you either love or hate. Unfortunately I belong to the last category, finding it clumsy and contrived and artificial.

This is a story of two sisters who are separated by their different fates after their grandmothers death. One followes her dream to live in the city as a fine lady, the other joins a band...
Published on 16 Nov 2010 by Book 1981


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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mesmerizing Tale of Early 20th Century Brazil, 2 Oct 2008
By 
John Kwok (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Seamstress (Hardcover)
Employing a vast literary canvas that may remind readers of Leo Tolstoy and Cormac McCarthy in its eloquent language and detail, first-time novelist Frances De Pontes Peebles' "The Seamstress" is a literary triumph in its exquisite portrayal of the Dos Santos sisters. Hers is a vivid novel of stark contrasts, comparing and contrasting the lives of these two seamstress sisters, intricately weaving her beguiling narrative between the desolate, almost primitive, backcountry of Sao Paolo state and the more urbane, almost modern, port city of Recife. "The Seamstress" is set during a tumultuous time in Brazil's history, chronicling the country's reaction to the worldwide Great Depression of the late 1920s and 1930s as seen through the eyes of Emilia and Luzia Dos Santos. While Emilia falls for the charms of a worldly, wealthy son of a prominent Recife doctor, her younger sister, captured by a vigilante band, becomes the notorious backcountry "Robin Hood" leader of this very band, "The Seamstress", leading her fellow bandits against both corrupt wealthy landowners (known as the "Colonels") and government soldiers occupying vast tracts of the backcountry's desolate, almost desert, terrain. When Luzia's violent struggle against corruption and modernity leads potentially to her doom, Emilia acts, risking both her very reputation and fortune, in a desperate attempt to save her sister's life. De Pontes Peebles' fiction will be recognizable to those long acquainted with Westerns such as Cormac McCarthy's late 20th Century epics, but hers is more a novel that is rooted firmly in both realism and the intense love felt for each other by the Dos Santos sisters, than a mere transplanting of the Western genre into Latin American fiction. "The Seamstress" remains one of the most fascinating works of recent historical fiction that I've come across, worthy of a wide readership.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Seamstress, 16 Nov 2010
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This review is from: The Seamstress (Paperback)
Judging by the other reviews, I guess this must be a book you either love or hate. Unfortunately I belong to the last category, finding it clumsy and contrived and artificial.

This is a story of two sisters who are separated by their different fates after their grandmothers death. One followes her dream to live in the city as a fine lady, the other joins a band of outlaws. The narration switches between the two girls as their lives take very different paths.

My first struggle was that I did not warm to either of the main characters. The narration is quite distant, giving the impression that you are observing from afar. Their thoughts and feelings are described in detail, but de Pontes Peebles fails to create a feeling of intimacy or closeness. It was too factual, too stiff and formal. It did not help that I found the younger sister unlikeable - Boring and shallow and irritating, a bit helpless and silly.

I found the chapters narrated by the outlaw sister Luzia, much more interesting than the ones narrated by Emilia. Even though I still struggled with the clumsy and remote narration, it was her story that kept me from closing the book before I had finished. By contrast, Emilia's chapters detailing her struggle to fit in with the High Society of the city were even more dull and irritating, like an interruption in the real story. I think I can see what the author has tried to achieve, but for me, this book was a real struggle to finish.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great characters, story and beautiful writing, 26 April 2010
By 
Shaz - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Seamstress (Paperback)
Beautifully written book. I kept going back to passages and rereading them. Truely evocative writing.I felt at times as if I was there. Interesting and really well drawn characters. I loved this book and found myself immediately immersed in the lives and worlds of the sisters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 15 Dec 2014
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This review is from: The Seamstress (Paperback)
excellent
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The Seamstress
The Seamstress by Frances de Pontes Peebles (Paperback - 1 Feb 2010)
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