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This remarkable story takes place in the slums of Northeast Brazil and centers around the main characters Tomas and Thereza. Teaching is banned in their town and Tomas teaches in secret hoping to bring knowledge to the people. Thereza hopes to discover a better life with Tomas in the South. The carnival is the only hope that the people of the slums believe they have in a realizing a better future for themselves. This story gives you a heart wrenching view of how the people are forced to live and the everyday tragedy's they are forced to endure.

Thereza is determined to secretly enter the carnival dance competition to win her way out of the unbearable situation that is her life. Tomas believes that educating himself and others is really the only way to a respectable future. Unknown to the carnival entrants Mayor Don Giovanni, with the help of his henchman Giomar, controls the outcome of the carnival and also the mind-boggling future of the winners.

This story takes you into the world of Tomas and Thereza, their life in the slums and their individual journey from the slums to their unbelievably staggering realizations of the future. Their journeys collectively and individually will pull at you from all directions. The descriptive picture painted of these characters as well as all the supporting characters in this book will place an unforgettable image in your mind.

The physical descriptions of their town and the elements surrounding them on their journey will provide you a tangible view of their circumstances. You will find yourself still contemplating the lives of Tomas and Teresa even after the final page is read.

I found this book extremely compelling and intelligently written. I highly recommend this book to all readers who want to be immersed in a story that will take you on a journey that you would otherwise never have taken.

Marilou George ~ The Kindle Book Review
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on 22 November 2011
This is the story of Tomas and Thereza who grew up and live in the slums of the North East of Brazil and the fight they have to get out of town via the Carnival.

This story is heartbreaking in its portrayal of just how poor these people are. I could picture the streets and tips that George describes. Tomas doesn't eat for 3 days and that is just unbelievable for me in my comfy house. I've no doubt this story could well be a true story many places in Brazil.

Tomas in his heart is a good person, but who knows how far we would be pushed before we do bad things like he reluctantly has to.

I think George is a good writer, the story is easy to read and even though nothing exciting happens, I was always "in the story". As with his previous book Secrets from the Dust, this wouldn't have been one I would have looked at twice, but I'm so glad I did. I was thinking of Tomas and Thereza long after finishing the book.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 5 April 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, extremely well written with wonderful characters and very clever plotline. The contrast in lifestyle between the poor and the rich is absolutely shocking and the author really puts this across well. You really feel for the people who are having to struggle so much every day just to live, so you can really understand the lengths that people will go to just to break out of the poverty that they are in. I would recommend this book to anyone.
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