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Brazil (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 26 Oct 2006

3.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (26 Oct. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141188944
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141188942
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 807,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Steamy . . . breathtaking . . . In Updike's novel, our vast South American neighbor emerges as a country both ancient and new."--"The New Yorker"
"There is a wonderful drive to the novel, true lyricism, real drama. . . . Updike has rare insight into the psychology of sexual behavior and the mysterious, almost otherworldly devotedness TristAo and Isabel share."--"Chicago Tribune"
" "
"The book [is] thrilling, not only by its own rights, as an action-driven narrative designed to thrill, but also as an instance of a contemporary master, one whom we thought we had figured out long ago, daring to reinvent himself before our jaded eyes."--"The New Criterion"

Steamy . . . breathtaking . . . In Updike s novel, our vast South American neighbor emerges as a country both ancient and new. "The New Yorker"
There is a wonderful drive to the novel, true lyricism, real drama. . . . Updike has rare insight into the psychology of sexual behavior and the mysterious, almost otherworldly devotedness Tristao and Isabel share. "Chicago Tribune"
""
The book [is] thrilling, not only by its own rights, as an action-driven narrative designed to thrill, but also as an instance of a contemporary master, one whom we thought we had figured out long ago, daring to reinvent himself before our jaded eyes. "The New Criterion"" --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

They meet by chance on Copacabana Beach: Tristao Raposo, a poor black teen from the Rio slums, surviving day to day on street smarts and the hustle, and Isabel Leme, an upper-class white girl, treated like a pampered slave by her absent though very powerful father. Convinced that fate brought them together, betrayed by families who threaten to tear them apart, Tristao and Isabel flee to the farthest reaches of Brazil's wild west -- unaware of the astonishing destiny that awaits them . . .
Spanning twenty-two years, from the mid-sixties to the late eighties, BRAZIL surprises and embraces the reader with its celebration of passion, loyalty, and New World innocence.
"A tour de force . . . Spectacular." -- Time
"Updike's novel, as tender as it is erotic, becomes a magnificently wrought love story . . . . Beautifully written." -- Detroit Free Press

"From the Paperback edition. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback
This book so irritated me I felt moved to write a review. The plot is weak on every level, it is cliched and the dialogue is jarringly awful. For example, a young semi literate "aborigine" woman living in the middle of nowhere says about magic ..." It cannot be political. Its area is the personal soul, not a nation or a people. There must be a personal petition, and procedures, and as a consequence to which must cling some ambiguity ". This book simply does not work, it is of the worst I have ever read and one of the one or two books I intentionally didn't bother to finish- I really did not care the final outcome. I strongly recommend you avoid this book, I fail to understand any of the other reviews giving it any stars above 1, no offence. I would recommend Mario Vargas Llosa's The feast of the goat or Isabel Allende's The house of spirits as good examples of 'South American' literature. 'Modern Classics' my eyes.
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