Welcome to Travel Readings
Melbourne: The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
Books, Movies and Beyond…
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Washington, DC and New York
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Rome
Rio de Janeiro: Crimes of August (Agosto) by Rubem Fonseca
Istanbul: The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk
Liège (Belgium): Pedigree by Georges Simenon
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Lisbon
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Cambodia
Hyde Park, Chicago: Ravelstein by Saul Bellow
Paris: Flowers of Ruin and Suspended Sentences by Patrick Modiano
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Naples
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Tanzania
Sri Lanka: Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje
Books, Movies and Beyond… : Venice
Dublin: The Dead by James Joyce
Books, Movies and Beyond: Iran
Santa Cruz, Bolivia: The Matter of Desire (Materia del Deseo) by Edmundo Paz Soldán
Books, Movies and Beyond: Syria
Djibouti: Passage of Tears (Passage des Larmes) by Abdourahman Waberi
Books, Movies and Beyond: Armenia
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso: The Parachute Drop by Norbert Zongo
Bangkok: Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap
Périgord, France: The Caves of Périgord by Martin Walker
Books, Movies and Beyond: Brussels
Naples: The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante
Books, Movies and Beyond: Rio de Janeiro
Tajikistan: Hurramabad by Andrei Volos
New-York: City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg
Israel and Palestine: To the End of the Land by David Grossman and Wild Thorns by Sahar Khalifeh
Books, Movies and Beyond: Bavaria and Southern Germany
Cape Town: Boyhood, Youth and Summertime by J.M. Coetzee
Books, Movies and Beyond: India
Blue Ridge Mountains: Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
Books, Movies and Beyond: Algeria
Austrian Alps: A Whole Life (Ein ganzes Leben) by Robert Seethaler
Books, Movies and Beyond: Africans in America
Zimbabwe: The Last Resort by Douglas Rogers
Books, Movies and Beyond: Colombia
Belgian Ardennes: The All Saints’ Day Lovers by Juan Gabriel Vásquez
Côte d’Ivoire: Aya of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie
Japan: Haruki Murakami and Amélie Nothomb
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and The Rope and The Denial of Saint Peter by Charles Baudelaire
Books, Movies and Beyond: Cairo
Vancouver: What is Remembered by Alice Munro
Ghent (Belgium): War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans
Haiti: An Aroma of Coffee and Dining with the Dictator by Dany Laferrière and The Comedians by Graham Greene
Iceland: Jar City by Arnaldur Indriðason
Siena and Tuscany : Il Palio delle contrade morte by Fruttero & Lucentini and The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
China : Wild Swans. Three Daughters of China, by Jung Chang
Amsterdam: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris
Former Soviet Union: The Unwomanly Face of War  by Svetlana Alexievich
Provence: The Horseman on the Roof by Jean Giono, La charrette bleue by René Barjavel, Madame de Sévigné and Ventoux by Bert Wagendorp
Moscow: The House of Government by Yuri Slezkine, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov and Limonov by Emmanuel Carrère
Books, Movies and Beyond: Vietnam

Books, Movies and Beyond: Rio de Janeiro

I just spent two wonderful weeks in Rio de Janeiro. I had previously reviewed “Crimes of August” by Rubem Fonseca. This week, I will continue with some of the books I read and the movies I watched before, during and after my trip in this fascinating city.


« The Hour of the Star » is Clarice Lispector’s last book. She was a Jewish immigrant arriving in Brazil from Ukraine just after World War I. It is the strange and haunting story of Macabéa, a migrant from the Nordeste, lost in Rio’s favelas. She has a simple and charmless life, dreaming of love, despite her lover’s neglect. As she comes out of a visit to a fortune teller predicting her a wonderful future, she dies hit by a car on the road.


« City of God (Cidade de Deus) » – which would be difficult to confuse for Saint Augustine’s eponymous theological masterpiece – is a partly autobiographical novel by Paulo Lins who grew up in this favela West of Rio. Violence, drugs, loyalty and treasons, friendships and love: the kids in the favelas are quick to become gangsters, leading a colorful life defying police and rival gangs, but some of them secretly long for a quiet life with wife and children.


Paulo Lins’ novel « City of God » has been adapted as a movie by Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund. The movie is probably more famous than the book, and, uncharacteristically, I found it better than the novel. It is shot very energetically and I liked the point of view of the kid who wants to become a photographer and a journalist to get out of the favela, an angle much more strongly emphasized on the screen.

Four Days in September (O Que Isso Companheiro)” is a great Brazilian movie which tells the story of the US ambassador’s kidnapping in Rio by a group of young revolutionaries to protest against the military dictatorship at the end of the 60s. The movie shows well the mix of naïveté and courage displayed by the kidnappers and their complex relationship with their hostage.


Finally, Harold reminded of « Red Brazil (Rouge Brésil) » a book by French novelist Jean-Christophe Rufin which I really enjoyed. It is about the arrival of the first Europeans – French in this case- in the Bay of Guanabara (which is now where Rio de Janeiro sits) and their first contacts with native population. The place changed a lot, but the natural splendor of the Bay remains the same. Any other movie or book suggestion about Rio?



Museo de Amanha

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