English » Press (42)

Ashes of the Amazon, review by Dan Eltringham – The Literateur, 23, December 2009

English, Press  

Set in Manaus, capital of Brazil’s Amazona region, Ashes of the Amazon evokes place and milieu far removed from the contextual touchstones of European literary fiction, while being at once predominantly concerned with one of the European novel’s great themes: the value of art, the worth of being an artist, and the thorny problem of whether an artistic life is one insulated from other kinds of social responsibility. The novel’s main strength is its very serious engagement with the relation of art to poverty, the myth of the impoverished artist and to commerce. This is familiar ground, but it is well covered, and although the novel as a piece of art will usually end up taking art’s side, here it is far from unequivocal. This is largely due to Hatoum’s impressive ability to construct what appear to be stereotypes and then complicate them.  This tension between type and textured complexity is most evident in the characters of Jano and Mundo, father and son, current owner and intended inheritor, respectively, of the family’s Jute exportation business and its visual symbol, Jano’s beloved Vila Amazonia. The Vila, up the Rio Negro river in the Amazon rainforest, is the novel’s dynastic core and […]

Fascinating re-telling of an acnient Amazonian myth, by Shane Creevy – www.Politico.ie, 08 March 2010

English, Press  

  Fascinating re-telling of an ancient Amazonian myth Monday, 08 March 2010 11:15 Shane Creevy “Don’t we breathe through what we speak? Don’t story-telling and singing blot out our pain?” The Amazon River and rainforest have captivated, provoked, even frightened, since the earliest times of human habitation. In Orphans of Eldorado, Milton Hatoum evokes the legend of The Enchanted City – a shining city of gold at the bottom of the Amazon River where people live as enchanted beings. The story is set in Manaus, the capital of Brazil’s Amazona region. Here Amando Cordovil runs a shipping empire with the help of his trusty lawyer Estiliano.  Arminto Cordovil, Amando’s son and the narrator of the story, is somewhat estranged from his father. One day he receives notification that his father would like to see him and the two agree to meet. But before they can do so Amando dies suddenly and Arminto inherits a fortune. He, however, becomes obsessed by Dinaura, a woman who lives with nuns. His passion for her blinds him to the slow decay of his shipping empire and when the Eldorado – a boat with much of his cargo onboard – sinks, he is left with […]

Family and rebellion in the forests of Brazil, by Daniel Hahn – The Independent, 5 December 2008

English, Press  

Somewhere upriver in the deep Amazon rainforest is the Vila Amazonia, a grand old estate-house with a busy jute plantation, property of the tycoon Trajano Mattoso. http://www.miltonhatoum.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/TheIndependent_5Dec2008.jpg

An Amazonian tragedy of jealousy and loss, by Alberto Manguel – The Independent, Friday, 20 December 2002

English, Press  

Sibling rivalry is as old as the world. From Cain and Abel to the Karamazovs, every man seems to revel in the desire of being the chosen child. Jews and Muslims still quarrel about which brother was to be sacrificed by Abraham – Isaac or Ishmael – because even when led to the slaughter a brother’s cry is a pathetic “choose me!” Sibling rivalry is as old as the world. From Cain and Abel to the Karamazovs, every man seems to revel in the desire of being the chosen child. Jews and Muslims still quarrel about which brother was to be sacrificed by Abraham – Isaac or Ishmael – because even when led to the slaughter a brother’s cry is a pathetic “choose me!” The brothers in Milton Hatoum’s novel are twins, pride of an immigrant family in Manaus, in the Amazonian rainforest of Brazil. The father is a Lebanese adventurer, Halim, who falls in love with Zana, the beautiful daughter of a restaurant owner from Lebanon. After the old man dies, Zana, unable to bear the grief of his memory, convinces her husband to open a small shop.  Zana wants children; Halim wants Zana to himself alone. When twins […]

A story of Manaus, by Jonathan Keates – Times Literary Supplement, May 24, 2002

English, Press  

Almost from its foundations, the Amazonian port of Manausbecame one of those places which has as lively a reality form armchair travellers as for those who have actually managed to make the journey. (…) http://www.miltonhatoum.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/TLS_May24_2002.jpg

Manaus memories, by Chris Moss – Times Literary Supplement, July 23, 2004

English, Press  

 Memory is a well-established theme inm contemporary Latin American fiction, and perhaps the primary obsession of its finests exponents. From Rayuela by Julio Cortázar, to One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, to The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa, the reconstruction of the past is a duty forced on those who have reason to question their individual and collective identities and doubt the vearcity of the histories passed to them by others. But a more Proustian motive underlies Milton Hatoum´s exploration of memory in this story of a childhood spent in the Amazoninan port of Manaus. http://www.miltonhatoum.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Site_pasta_Tale_TLS_July23_2004.jpg translated by John Gledson

Books of the Year by the Financial Times – Orphans of Eldorado

English, Press  

ORPHANS OF ELDORADO has been chosen as one of the Books of the Year by the Financial Times – in the translated fiction section, in which there are about ten books. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/6bfb59f8-fe61-11df-845b-00144feab49a.html#ixzz17LusQBLo

The myths series, published by Canongate

English, Press  

Myths are universal and timeless stories that reflect and shape our lives — they explore our desires, our fears, our longings, and provide narratives that remind us what it means to be human.The Myths series brings together some of the world’s finest writers, each of whom has retold a myth in a contemporary and memorable way. Authors in the series include: Margaret Atwood, Karen Armstrong, AS Byatt, David Grossman, Milton Hatoum, Natsuo Kirino, Alexander McCall Smith, Tomás Eloy Martínez, Victor Pelevin, Ali Smith, Su Tong, Dubravka Ugresic, Salley Vickers and Jeanette Winterson. The series launched on 21st October 2005 and is the most ambitious simultaneous worldwide publication ever undertaken. http://www.themyths.co.uk/?p=73: Orphans of Eldorado Author: Milton Hatoum Published: February 2010 Original edition: 9781847673008 Mass market edition: 9781847672995 (Published in 2011) ‘With his erudition and marshalling of historical detail. Hatoum compressed an epic into a novella.’ Times Literary Supplement  ‘Clear in each particular but tantalisingly elusive in its overall meaning, Orphans of Eldorado does what every good telling of a myth should.’ Financial Times The setting for this magical fable is Eldorado, the Enchanted city that inhabited the fevered dreams of European navigators and conquistadors, but eluded all attempts to find it on […]

The Strand, BBC World Service – Friday, 12th February 2010

English, Press  

One of South America’s leading contemporary novelists, Milton Hatoum has retold an Amazonian legend involving squandered fortunes, mysterious alluring women, violence and love in “Orphans of Eldorado”. He talks to Harriett Gilbert about his love for The Amazon and his relaxed approach to writing. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/p0063zdv/The_Strand_The_Strand_Friday_12th_February_2010

Rich river city with some of the poorest shantytowns in Brazil – The Irish Times – Wednesday, September 22, 2010

English, Press  

LETTER FROM MANAUS: As soon as the British learnt how to harvest rubber in Asia, the area fell into abject poverty, writes TOM HENNIGAN  BRAZIL’S AMAZON must be one of the few parts of the world where the winter is hotter than summer. Keep in mind this is all relative. An Irish person would find any day of the year in the jungle somewhere between hot and unbearable. But in the southern hemisphere’s winter months – roughly May to November – the tropical rains ease, denying the little relief they provide from the equatorial sun. Right in the heart of this rainforest is the city of Manaus which stretches along the north bank of the Rio Negro, just before it meets the Rio Solimões to form the Amazon River proper. At the beginning of the 20th century it was one of Brazil’s most modern cities, rich on exporting wild rubber which paid for the city’s magnificent opera house, trams and electricity. The British dominated the local economy with the Booth Line running a regular passenger service to Liverpool, where most of the rubber landed, having being loaded in Manaus Harbour, as it is still called today after the British company that […]