Ashes of the Amazon (7)

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 […]

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

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

English, Press  

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

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

English, Press  

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: 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 […]

Out of Amazonia – Manaus forms an exotic backdrop to a bitter tale, by Maya Jaggi – The Guardian, 15 November 2008

English, Press  

Milton Hatoum’s early novels drew on his upbringing in the Brazilian melting-pot of Manaus, the rainforest river port legendary for its floating markets and extravagant opera house. Tale of a Certain Orient and The Brothers, explored the past of a city at the confluence of rivers and cultures that had lured workers and traders since the rubber boom of the 1880s – including Hatoum’s Lebanese Arab forebears, who exchanged the Mediterranean for the Amazon. The Brothers, translated from the Portuguese in 2002, confirmed Hatoum as one of South America’s leading contemporary novelists.