Tag Archives: Brazil

Brazil’s Complex Past, Recounted from a Deathbed: Chico Buarque’s ‘Spilt Milk’

Musician and author Chico Buarque came of age with the installment of a brutal military dictatorship in Brazil, one that was to last for more than twenty years until it toppled in 1985. A pioneer and experimenter within bossa nova, Buarque wrote subtle lyrics protesting the regime’s violent suppression of dissidents, songs that made it into his country’s popular consciousness. To this day Buarque is regarded in Brazil as a vital cultural stalwart, an artist who, since the early ‘60s, continues to examine his country and instill large social change. His most recent novel, Spilt Milk (Grove/Atlantic, 177 pages, translated …Continue reading

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The Brazilian Bird of Prey: Four New Translations of Clarice Lispector

In his preface to Clarice Lispector’s A Breath of Life (Pulsations), editor Benjamin Moser calls the four new translations from New Directions of Lispector’s novels—including Água Viva, Near to the Wild Heart, and The Passion According to G.H.—“the most important project of translation into English of a Latin American author since the complete works of Jorge Luis Borges were published a decade ago.” This is hardly a disinterested opinion: Moser himself kicked off the retranslations of Lispector’s work with The Hour of the Star (New Directions), published late last year. He also published a biography of Lispector in 2009, Why …Continue reading

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It All Comes Down to a Walk in the Park: Sergio Chejfec’s ‘My Two Worlds’

My faith in reading — shattered by texting, an increasingly illiterate America, and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills — has been restored by a book about a walk in the park. Sergio Chejfec‘s My Two Worlds (Open Letter Books; 120 pages), translated by Margaret B. Carson, concerns itself with one walk in one park: a green expanse in the unnamed Brazilian town where Chefjec, a visiting Argentine academic, is attending a literary festival where he imagines himself looking “like a fugitive trying to blend in.” Consulting a map, seeing that green spot, he feels his heart race: “For me …Continue reading

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