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The Brothers – Kirkus Review, May 15, 2002

English, Press  

A fraternal rivalry exacerbated by incestous passion yields potent melodramatic consequences in this absorbing fourth novel (second in translation) from the Brazilian author of The Tree of the Seventh Heaven (1994). Again, Hatoum focuses on a Lebanese immigrant, a trader named Halim, and his tragically conflicted family: twin sons Yaqub (a successful engineer hamstrung by his “calculating ambition”) and Omar (a drunken wastrel filled with “excessive hostility yoward everyone and everything in the world”), their importunate younger sister Zania, and Halim's tempestous Brazilian wife Z nasal polyp treatment ana, whose love for the brooding Omar surges dangerously beyond the bouns of maternal devotion. Their story – which takes place in and near n economically depressed seaport city in the years following WWII – is sedulously pieced together by an initially unidentified involved narrator whose secondary, though crucial, relationship to Halim's household is only gradually, and quite artfully, revealed. A beatifully constructed story, replete with colorful incident and brisk, vivid characterizations, leaving a deeply ironic, bitter aftertaste. One of the better recent novels out of Latin America. zp8497586rq

Families and relations – The Guardian, March 15, 2003, by Isobel Montgomery and David Jays

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The Brothers, by Milton Hatoum, translated by John Gledson (Bloomsbury, £6.99)

Brazilian novelist Hatoum creates an archetypal tale of brotherly hate that shakes a family. Twins grow up in a Lebanese family living in the Amazon port of Manaus: Yaqub the quiet engineer, pale as a chameleon on a damp wall; dissolute Omar, with “the whiff of a jaguar’s skin”. One of them is our narrator’s father – the illegitimate son of the family’s indefatigable maid, he spends the novel watching and wondering who spawned him, sobersides or spendthrift. Loping through the middle decades of the past century, the brothers’ enmity becomes epic, Cain and Abel up the Amazon. Hatoum’s singularity is to assemble a world of pungent detail – peppery stuffed fish, pulpy fruits – which is blown by melodramatic gusts of rancour. John Gledson’s absorbing translation keeps its senses on full alert for a slumping hammock or the aniseed tang of arrack, for public brawling and sweaty sexual rivalry.

Grieving hearts – The Observer, August 26 2007, by Olivia Laing

English, Press  

Tale of a Certain Orient, by Milton Hatoum. Bloomsbury £7.99

At the end of this strange and intricate novel, the narrator describes her attempt at telling the story of her extended Lebanese family, exiled in the Brazilian town of Manaus, ‘as if I were trying to whisper to you the melody of a stolen music’. The analogy is an accurate one: there is a lyrical, symphonic quality to Hatoum’s writing that is peculiarly beguiling. His book amounts to a love letter to a lost world, with all the attentive recollection of physical details – parrots, clocks, slaughtered sheep, Christmas feasts and all – that the time traveller requires. Dramatic tension comes through the slow revelation of a series of secrets, key among them the mystery of the deaf-mute child Soraya Angela, whose silent presence heightens tensions within her family with devastating consequences.

Paperback: Ashes of the Amazon, by Milton Hatoum, bu James Urquhart – Financial Times, November 2, 2009

English, Press  

An orphan growing up in a Brazilian river town, Lavo records his difficult friendship with Mundo, an awkward but taunted misfit at school. The only childd of a local tycoon, Mundo makes a delinquent heir, preferring to be a cartoonist rather than take the paths his family is keen for him to follow.  Mundo's outlandish artistic escapades humiliate and antagonis buy cialis online without a prescription e his father, while Mundo's supportive but alcoholic wife adds matrimonial bile to the family's bitter mistery. Confusing relationships and responsabilities heighten the claustrophobic intensity of this heat-maddened tale. Lavos is an uncertain go-between in Hatoum's tangled acconunt. Mundo's defiance smoulders with the promise of conflagration. zp8497586rq

A ship to nowhere – Times Literary Supplement, January 23, 2009, by Anita Sethi

English, Press  

The narrator of this compelling novel by the Lebanese Brazilian author Milton hatoum, the orphan Lavo, seeks refuge from the hubbub of Rio de Janeiro in an alleyway bar where he reads a letter from his friend, the rebel Mundo. Scrawled in a tremulous hand, the letter is written from Mundo's deathbed, where he is consumed by a fever so painful that “writing is almost a miracle”. Twenty years later, Mundo's story returns to haunt Lavo “with the intensity of burning embers”. John Gledson's lyrical translation of Hatoum's Portuguese original, which was first published in 2005, retains a sensitivity to that mood of intensity, and to the idiosyncrasies of Brazilian landscape, the bustle of town life with pavements jammed with peddlars, and the tensions simmering during the military dictatorship of the 1960s. As military coups rage, a fierce battle of wills is waged between the father, jano, and his son, Mundo, a theme of familial rivalries reflecting wider tensions in society which was also delineated in Hatoum's earlier prizewinning novels. Jano has small greyish eyes, a haughty stance and a large inherited fortune; on his desk sits a replica of the steamship  that began a line between Manaus and Vila Amazonia […]

Rage and decay fester in Manaus – Morning Star, 06/05/2002, by Chris Searle

English, Press  

There are some places for every reader, faraway places that may have exerted a mysterious compulsion eve since childhood int hte fantasies of a destant geography lesson. Sometimes, the name of these places are enough, almost by themselves, to draw the imaginaton, almost hypnotically, into an irrational fascination. For me, such a place is the Amazonian city of Manaus, built on the confluence of immense south American rivers in the depths of the rain forest, which was the centre of the rubber boom in the early 20th century that grew through the steam of Brazil's tropical heat and the need of the US motor industy to find tyres for its cars. The Brothes has its setting in Manaus, but, int the years following its precocious prosperity, in the post-war era leading up to and beyond the 1964 military coup in Brazil. It is a family story, in particular, the story  of a Lebanese immigrant family. Halim is an ex-pedlar, struggling to maintaiin dry goods store in the decaying riverside harbour. In the pre-war years, in the wake of the city rubber ascendancy, he marries Zana, the daughter of a Brazilian Maronite Christian family. From the union of these two ardent lovers, […]

Memories of Manaus – The Irish Times – Saturday, July 10, 2004

English, Press  

The Irish Times – Saturday, July 10, 2004 Memories of Manaus Eileen Battersby FICTION/Tale Of A Certain Orient: Emilie, a courageous family matriarch who has borne her many sorrows with dignity, is about to die. Her family and friends await the impending loss and have arrived to take their places in the lamentation, or have they? This is a subtle, beautiful and melancholic novel, steeped in memory; its wonder, its burdens and its many secrets. A granddaughter has returned to say goodbye to the woman who most shaped her life, or at least her understanding of what life amounts to – a telling gesture, a family myth. Early in the narrative, Hatoum, a storyteller with an artist's eye and a philosopher's soul, makes it clear that his narrator, a self- described “passive observer” has undertaken a journey that is far more complicated than a farewell. She may be preparing her goodbye to her grandmother, but she is also directing her impressions, observations and discoveries to the brother she has not seen for a long time. Our narrator soon emerges as a troubled sleep walker, trapped by vivid images and ghosts that have not yet set her free and, as the narrative […]

The Brothers, Booklist, 2002

English, Press  

Hatoum tells of twin brothers, pitted against each other from their birth, in a tale that mirrors the biblical story of Cain and Abel. The story is set in the Brazilian city of Manaus, amidst the sweltering Amazonian heat, where Omar and Yaqub have been born to well-to-do Lebanese immigrants. Zana, their mother, prefers Omar above all her other children and, as a result, confines him, through her love, to a life of attachment. Yaqub, after a boyhood fight with his twin, is sent to live with relatives in Lebanon, and remains aloof to his family from then on, only to return with a ve Incinerador De Grasa -fat Burning Furnace Spanish ngeful spirit. Omar's jealousy of his brother's intelligence, success, and ability to escape from the suffocating world his family has created causes hatred to grow and fester within. As Omar continues down his self-destructive path, and as Yaqub continues to win wealth and acclaim, their family, along with the city of Manaus itself, begins to fall into ruin. Hatoum masterfully deals with universal truths of love, envy, jealousy, competition, and rage. Gripping, heartbreaking, and breathtaking. Michael Spinella Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved zp8497586rq

The brothers, Library Journal, 2002

English, Press  

Lebanese Brazilian author Hatoum's first novel, The Tree of Seventh Heaven, won Brazil's Jabuti Prize in 1990 and was subsequently translated to considerable acclaim. Here he tells the story of twin brothers whose destructive relationship stems primarily from their mother and has devastating consequences. Although Omar and Yaqub share certain character traits, their mother believes that they have very different physical and emotional needs. While Omar is the cherished son, Yaqub is banished from the family for years as the result of a fight with his brother. Yaqub gains courage and chooses to distance himself from the family, while Omar becomes buy cialis online more parasitic and eventually sees his one truly loving relationship with a woman outside the family destroyed by his jealous mother. Hatoum depicts the dark side of a family unable to see its own shortcomings, carefully peeling back the layers to reveal the torment that twists love into pain. He forthrightly describes life in all its vicissitudes yet creates a sense of mystery about what really happens when family members confront each other and their demons. Filled with evocative images of life in postwar Brazil, this book will interest those seeking new writers. Caroline Hallsworth, Sudbury […]

The Brothers – Publisher Weekly, 2002

English, Press  

Hatoum's well-received first novel (The Tree of the Seventh Heaven) won Brazil's leading literary award in 1990. His second is a painstakingly crafted exercise in restraint and suspense. Set in a Lebanese immigrant community in the Brazilian port town of Manaus, this is the story of identical twins, Yaqub and Omar, whose lives take radically different paths: one toward professional success in Brazil's metropolis S\o Paulo, the other to drunken dissipation in the lowly port of his birth. Set against the backdrop of a city whose very character is undergoing radical change, it is also the story of a family on the verge of conflagration from incestuous passion and riddled with secrets and guilt. A mystery with multiple levels, its primary device is that of deferral: the entire plot unfolds in flashback, the identity of the narrator is withheld until one-third into the book, essay help and the narrator's very name is not revealed until its final pages. While superficially the story seems to involve the brothers' strained relationship with each other and the misplaced passions of their sister and mother, the central question is really that of the narrator's identity. Purported to be the son of the family servant, […]