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

English, Press  

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

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

English, Press  

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 […]