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Amazon Books, but Not What You Think – By Larry Rohter – September 24,2007

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The Amazon is the home of writers who, despite the vast canvas before them and their own considerable talent, have had problems making their voices heard beyond the jungle.

Shimmering prose lights "Seventh Heaven" – The Boston Globe, May 18, 1994 – by Robert Taylor

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The tree of the seventh heaven, by Erik Burns – The New York Times, May 15,1994

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Lost in the jungle – Financial Times, December 6/7, 2008

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A teenager struggles to find his path in 1950s Brazil, writes Ángel Gurría-Quintana

Down the river of stories – AS Byatt on a snakily sensous novel that evokes the smells and colours of the Amazon – The Guardian, 01.06.2010

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“To a traveller looking out of the plane window at night, it seems as if a river of stories is flowing into an invisible city.”Milton Hatoum’s first novel ends with a magical description of Manaus, a city approached by air and water, but not by road, across the Amazon jungle.

Ashes of the Amazon – The Daily Telegraph, November 26, 2008 – by Laura Thompson

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By Laura Thompson Published: 2:01PM GMT 26 Nov 2008 Laura Thompson on a fatal case of symbolitis and a powerful piece of writing This is the third novel by Milton Hatoum, a professor of literature in Amazônas, his home state in north-west Brazil. His first, Tales of a Certain Orient, introduced readers to the exotic world of his birth city, Manaus, a diverse and lively place set deep in the jungle. The book was rhapsodically reviewed, as was its follow-up, The Brothers, and Ashes of the Amazon has already won three literary prizes in Brazil. So why, reading the novel, did I feel that I was battling through dense rainforest? Many Europeans admire Hatoum, yet I got the impression that some vital quality in his work had been lost in translation. This is not intended as a criticism of John Gledson, whose English version of Ashes of the Amazon is supple and lucid. But Hatoum's sensibility feels too mysterious for penetration. The unvarying prose; the lack of narrative focus, so that it takes about 50 pages to grasp who these characters are; the hammering away at the theme – all of this is clearly deliberate. Yet it does not translate […]

Paperback, The Brothers, The Daily Telegraph, February 28, 2003

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Megan Stephan, Sinclair McKay and Charles Osborne review the latest paperbacks The Brothers by Milton Hatoum (Bloomsbury, £6.99) From the start, this novel, a kaleidoscopic work following the lives of a Lebanese family living in the Brazilian port of Manaus in the middle of the 20th century, exerts a curious hold. Halim, a trader, and his wife, Zana, have twin boys, Omar and Yaqub. Temperamentally cheap viagra online at odds with one another – Omar grows up to be the charismatic though hard-drinking ladykiller, while Yaqub becomes more austere – their growing conflict powers the narrative. The book zig-zags back and forth across the years, building a heavily emotional tapestry, for this is the sort of book in which people do not hold back. The lives of the family are one thing, but what also grips is Hatoum's evocation of this exotic world. From the markets, with their offal and flies, to the lush foliage, rich colours and myriad smells, this is an unusually sensual book. SM zp8497586rq

Fury in the family – The Sunday Telegraph, June 16, 2002 – by David Robson

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Imagine the story of Cain and Abel transposed to a town on the banks of the Amazon in the mid-20th century and you will have the flavour of this strange and haunting novel. Neither of the two brothers of the title ends up in the mortuary, but it is more by good luck than good judgment that they remain alive. Omar and Yaqub, the sons of Lebanese ex-patriots, are born identical twins, which gives extra venom to their rivalry. As teenagers, they have a ferocious fight over a girl they meet at a party. As young men, they are not on speaking terms. In middle age, they come to physical blows with a savagery that bewilders those around them. Their poor parents long for them to be reconciled; but as a reader, you sense that it is never going to happen. There is something implacable in their hatred. If the plot has a grim, fatalistic quality, Milton Hatoum introduces enough light and shade to save it from being oppressive. The story is told by the son of the family nanny, an inquisitive child tormented by the knowledge that one of the brothers – he never finds out which one – […]

Tears in the rainforest – The Daily Telegraph, May 11, 2002 – by Ed Butler

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MILTON HATOUM'S second novel arrives in Britain with a substantial reputation. Like his first, The Tree of the Seventh Heaven (1994), The Brothers has already won the leading literary award in Hatoum's native Brazil, and it seems that none of his considerable narrative gifts have been lost in translation. The story is set in mid-20th century Manaus, Brazil's multi-ethnic Amazonian rubber capital. The main characters, like the author, are of Arab descent – a merchant trader, his wife and twin sons – the elder of whom, Yaqub, is despatched as a teenager to relatives in Lebanon to discover his roots. The early separation from both parents and his grossly spoilt twin, Omar, leads to a lifelong estrangement. Yaqub returns to Brazil a frosty intellectual; Omar by contrast emerges a feckless pleasure-seeker. Related Articles The next Labour leader could be prime minister within a year David Miliband tops two Labour leadership opinion polls It will take more than Jam and Jerusalem to create David Cameron's Big Society Ed Miliband raises thousan buy cialis online ds in Barack Obama style small donation campaign British soldiers killed in Afghanistan named as Jonathan Crookes and David Monkhouse Is Labour a party without a purpose?The […]

Oh Brother where art thou – Sunday Tribune, April 21, 2002 – by Tom Widger

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WITH Milton Hatoum's second novel, this reviewer did something that is a rare thing nowadays, reflected a while and began at page one again. You simply luxuriate in John Gledson's translation from the Portuguese (Hatoum was born in Brazil, the setting for the novel) and it makes you wonder what it would read like in the original. The book teems with the colour of the setting (a supplied glossary explains words such as cupuacu, gazal – erotic poetry – jaraqui, tamtaqui), the exotic language is matched by the wonderfully delineated characters who could only have emerged from such a landscape, or a similar one, in this case the Lebanon. Yet, despite the colourful cast of characters, the landscape, the themes – smothering mother love, unfulfilled longing, displacement and eventual acceptance, the story never boils over into the surreality of magic realism. The period is 1945. One war is ended and, inevitably, another about to restart. Twin brothers, Yaqub and Omar, fight as only some brothers can. In 1938 Yaqub is sent to the Lebanon, where his parents were born before they emigrated to Brazil. Omar stays in Brazil with his parents and is treated like an only child. Another theme […]