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Brazil Beyond Rio

July 2016

Estrada Real
Image: Eliseu Cavalcante, "Estrada Real," from the series The Golden Passage, 2015. Photograph. © Eliseu Cavalcante. Courtesy of the artist.

This month, we’re off to Brazil for a different look at the South American giant that will host this year’s Olympic Games. The writers here—both those from abroad and those from Brazil—set out to rediscover and portray the diverse Brazils within this dynamic country. Artur Domosławski, winner of Poland’s prestigious Journalist of the Year Award, brings us a chronicle of deaths foretold, French writer Hubert Tézenas spins a tale of forced confessions and murder, and American writer Naomi Jackson reflects on blackness in Brazil and the pleasure of the soft thud of Brazilian Portuguese rolling off baiano tongues. João Guimarães Rosa, the greatest Brazilian writer after Machado de Assis, brings us his Joycean tale of central Brazil, while Lúcio Cardoso tells of the dissolution of a patriarchal family. Caio Fernando Abreu brings us a story of a dying man in search of his mother’s acceptance. Award-winning contemporary writers Ronaldo Correia de Brito and Carlos Henrique Schroeder capture lost childhood through the lens of tradition and the earphones of a broken Walkman. In our poetry feature, “Brazil in Verse,” Edival Lourenço pays homage to the important twentieth-century poet Ferreira Gullar, Micheliny Verunschk contemplates existence from the edge of a coral reef, and the Best Translated Book Award-winning team of Angélica Freitas and Hilary Kaplan provide a journey to Ithaca. All told, these writers represent seven states from North to South. Though the work of many reflects on each writer’s locale, they also make the case for the universality of Brazilian literature. And on the visual side, Brazilian photographer Eliseu Cavalcante contributes our cover artwork and a folio focused on the struggle of the Terena, an indigenous tribe, to reclaim their lands in Mato Grosso do Sul.

We also thank Mirna Queiroz of Revista Pessoa for her contribution as a co-curator of the Brazilian writers featured here.

Brazil Beyond Rio
By Eric M. B. Becker
The writers here—both those from abroad and those from Brazil—set out to rediscover and portray the diverse Brazils within this dynamic country.
Grande Sertão: Veredas (Bedeviled in the Badlands)
By João Guimarães Rosa
Are you like me, sir? I didn’t buy a word.
Translated from Portuguese by Alison Entrekin
The Time Left
By Carlos Henrique Schroeder
Work is too ambiguous a word. Does life work? No, it always wrecks.
Translated from Portuguese by Zoë Perry
Death in the Amazon
By Artur Domosławski
But first they sever José Cláudio’s right ear.
Translated from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
By Ronaldo Correia de Brito
“It’s impossible for a sister recluse to sing like that. We no longer feel those emotions.”
Translated from Portuguese by Daniel Hahn
Beauty, a Terrible Story
By Caio Fernando Abreu
“Who cares about an old wreck?”
Translated from Portuguese by Bruna Dantas Lobato
Esperança Terena
By Eliseu Cavalcante
While he was with the Terena, he captured their lives: a mix of hope, spirituality, and a constant fear of losing their land once again.
Quipapá Gold
By Hubert Tézenas
He recruits men and trains them and organizes all sorts of crime from his cell.
Translated from French by Allison M. Charette
Falling in Love with Bahia & Brazil: On Negritude, Saudade, & Surrender
By Naomi Jackson
I’d taken a few capoeira classes that left me barely able to walk.
The Pharmacist’s First Report
By Lúcio Cardoso
“One does not kill wolves with poison.”
Translated from Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa & Robin Patterson