Name the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Brazil. I will give you some time to consider it. Are you ready? I bet that your answer was related to soccer, carnival or our beautiful nature. And that is absolutely right! We have fantastic soccer players; football it’s considered a national sport; it is a passion. Our carnival is the biggest in the world; it is four days of a colourful and joyful party that takes over the entire country. Nature? Our beaches would leave you speechless.
But Brazilian culture is far richer. We also have amazing and talented writers that you may have heard of (I hope). Through their stories, you can have a deep understanding of our culture, history, landscape while having a wonderful time. I have created a select list of Brazilian writers you must read:
Machado de Assis
Machado de Assis was born on June 21st, 1839, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and is considered one of Brazil’s most celebrated writers. A descendant of slaves, through his work, he became a very respectful man in society. Assis was nominated as a knight and later an official of the Order of the Rose, an honorary Brazilian order. He was also founder and president of the Brazilian Academy of Letters; he published more than 200 short stories, ten novels and other publications such as plays and chronicles. Assis died, 69 years old, on September 29th, 1899.
One of his amazing works is the book Dom Casmurro published in 1899. Considered a masterpiece, it criticizes the Brazilian society, and it also discusses the matter of jealousy, making the reader question the attitudes and integrity of one of the main characters: Capitu.
Jorge Amado remains the best known of Brazilian writers. His work was translated into 49 languages. Born on August 10th, 1912, in Bahia, Brazil, he published his first novel, The Carnival Country, in 1931. A bachelor in Law and a communist, due to his political opinions he was forced to ask for asylum in Argentina and Uruguay between 1941 and 1942. Back in the country in 1945, he was the most voted congressman of the State of São Paulo. In 1947 his party was ban from Brazil and his members persecuted and arrested, he was forced to leave the country again and lived in France until 1950. Back in Brazil, he stepped away from politics and focused on literature. In 1961 he was nominated for a position in the Brazilian Academy of Letters, where he remained until his death in 2001.
His best-known book Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon, tells a love story between Gabriela and Nacib, an Arabic man. Their love challenges the customs of that time. The novel happens in 1920 in Ilhéus, a seaside city in Brazil. By the time the city is facing sudden changes due to the wealth provided by the cultivation of cocoa.
Clarice Lispector had a different name. Born in 1920 in Tchetchelnik, Russia, Haia Lispector and her family moved to Brazil in 1922, running away from the war. As soon as they arrived in the country, her father decided to change her name. Haia – which means life – became Clarice. Considered one of the greatest authors in Brazilian literature, Clarice Lispector debuted with the award-winning novel Near the Wild Heart (1943). Her book created some discomfort on the critics of the time, given her peculiar and innovative writing. Clarice Lispector’s writing is compared to Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, and Katherine Mansfield. She died at 52 years old, in 1977, due to cancer.
In her last novel, The Hour of the Star, Clarice created a fictional narrator, Rodrigo S.M. He tells the story of the young Macabéa, born in northeastern Brazil, while she reflects on her dreams and internal conflicts.
I hope you enjoyed knowing a little bit more about these amazing Brazilian writers and their work, I have more names and stories to share, but I will save it to another post!
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