A Death in Brazil
A Book of Omissions
By Peter Robb
(Henry Holt and Co., Hardcover, 9780805076417, 352pp.)
Publication Date: May 1, 2004
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Combining travel, history, culture, and his own memories of twenty years of Brazilian life, the author of Midnight in Sicily delves into the past and present of a country that affects our imagination like few other places on earth
From his own near murder in Rio at the hands of an intruder twenty years ago and continuing through the recent slaying of a former president's bagman who looted the country of more than a billion dollars, violent death poses a steady threat in Peter Robb's brilliant travelogue through modern-day Brazil. It's not death, however, that leaves a lasting impression but the exuberant life force that emanates from the country and its people.
Seeking to understand how extreme danger and passion can coexist in a nation for centuries, Robb travels from the cobalt blue shores of southern Brazil to the arid mountains of the northeast recounting four centuries of Brazilian history from the days of slavery to the recent election of the country's first working-class president. Much more than a journey through history, Robb renders in vivid detail the intoxicating pleasures of the food, music, and climate of the country and references the work of Brazil's greatest writers to depict a culture unlike any other.
With a stunning prose style and an endlessly inquisitive intellect, Robb builds layer upon layer of history, culture, and personal reminiscence into a deeply personal, impressionistic portrait of a nation. The reader emerges from A Death in Brazil not just with more knowledge about the country but with a sense of having experienced it and with a deep understanding of its turbulent soul.
Peter Robb has divided his time between Brazil, southern Italy, and Australia during the past quarter century. He is the author of Midnight in Sicily and M: The Man Who Became Caravaggio (0-312-27474-2), a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. He writes for The Times Literary Supplement and the London Review of Books.