The Irish Times (2)

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 […]

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 […]