The Slum is a poignant portrayal of Brazilian life in the late 19th century Issues related to ethnicity, social class and women s role comprise the key elements in this impassioned novel by Aluisio Azevedo Azevedo uses his characters to reveal how people are changed by their social position, environment and race relations Men step on one another, discard women and disregard blacks as they move up the social ladder Portraits of married women are dim Portraits of black women fare worse Somewhere, within this seemingly unenlightened view of Brazilian life, lie passion, beauty and imagination That is, an artist s unique ability to paint a harsh view of reality with a palate of colors that imbibes beauty the beauty of life translated into a symphony of the written word This, is the magic of Azevedo An outstanding novel.
Se O Corti O Dos Romances Mais Contundentes Da Literatura Brasileira, Este Volume Possui Atributos Que O Convertem Na Melhor Edi O Do Cl Ssico De Alu Sio Azevedo Al M De Texto Estabelecido Conforme A Ltima Edi O Em Vida Do Autor, Cont M Iconografia Hist Rica E Notas De Rodap Por Leila Guenther O Ensaio De Apresenta O Foi Escrito Por Paulo Franchetti, Que, Revisando No Es Consagradas, Oferece Argumentos Para Uma Nova Leitura Do Romance If O Corti o, which translated into English is closer to the tenement than the slum , as it appears in this Library of Latin America edition, were set in the United States, it would look something like Gangs of New York Set in R o de Janeiro s Botafogo neighborhood, the book chronicles the rise and fall of a multiethnic tenement community and its eventual transformation into a bourgie suburb Its story revolves around that community s three prominent white Portuguese men 1 Jo o Rom o, the parsimonious slumlord who builds the corti o with solely material gain in mind and rules over his creation heartlessly 2 Miranda, Jo o s neighbor, a penniless social climber who marries a promiscuous and vain Brazilian heiress and 3 Jer nimo, the foreman at Jo o s quarry, who is driven wild by the intoxicatingly beautiful mulatta woman Rita and abandons, eventually, his stuffy Portuguese wife and all pretensions of moral living For a 19th Century author, Alu sio Azevedo is strikingly progressive in his blunt dealings with race and sexuality He foregrounds the issues of racial mixing and physical desire as how do I say this the basis for Brazil s cultural modernization Despite its relatively progressive stance on race and sexuality relative, that is, to Anglophone literature written under the reign of Queen Victoria today O Corti o reads as a very dated, and very politically incorrect piece of work The author s use of words like Negress and mulatto or mulatta , often in place of his character s names, is certainly something no 21st Century author would get away with rightfully so Similarly, though less importantly, the character s dialogue, in particular in the climactic verbal spar between Jer nimo s Portuguese wife and Brazilian mistress, is extremely cheesy but perhaps that sa problem with this translation than Azevedo s original.
A recommended book if you re interested in 19th Century Brazil or in multi ethnic American narratives Otherwise Despite starting a little slow it took me a while to get into the story and get the rhythm , I really enjoyed the book.
Besides being a very complete book there is romance, comedy, drama, blood, sex and a lot, one of the most remarkable points is that as the story develops itself, the slum grows, the characters grow, the plots grow in complexity The book, ultimately, gets a lot better each new page.
It s worth highlighting the author s ability to write, flawlessly, the many kinds of people living in that world, as well as his way of managing to tell, in much too few pages, the tales of several characters in a very humorous, easy to follow and thorough way even though the book is quite short and has many characters, they re not empty or bad done By the way, there are surprises and emotions you don t even see coming Sex, Lies and Rio scapeI ve been a fan of Brazilian literature for a long time, but had never heard of THE SLUM until 2016 It is definitely under the radar in the USA but it s a really rich novel First of all, it grants the reader a look at Brazilian or at least Rio de Janeiro society in the 19th century At that time, Machado de Assis wrote ofrefined, delicate circles, Euclides da Cunha wrote specifically of a certain 19th century historical incident Azevedo focuses instead mostly on lower class manners and existence with a rich soup of food, music, dress, work, love and sex As far as the last goes, the contrast with Anglo Saxon writers of the same period is amazing Secondly, the novel doesn t focus on one person alone, but on a whole group a miserly Portuguese immigrant who scrounges and scrimps his way to the top, his black slave mistress, a Portuguese stonecutter who falls for a Bahian mulatta, numerous laundrywomen and numerous lesser characters The sum of their lives is the main topic of the book Thirdly, the author covers the hot topics of Brazil of that period slavery and racism, the contrast between European immigrants and native born or mixed race Brazilians The realism is palpable on every page, the dialogue lively, and the characters well drawn It seemed to me that Jorge Amado owed a lot to Azevedo in both style and content If you like realist novels of any nationality, you ll definitely fall for this one The ending, highly ironic, is totally unexpected it is as if the whole book takes a sudden turn It s hard to believe that Azevedo is so completely unknown in the English speaking world.
This novel is considered the main achievement of Brazilian naturalism, and it is certainly one of the most important works of XIX century Latin American literature With a hard, crude language, Alu sio Azevedo describes in a deeply rich structure the lives of a handful of characters, giving each one of them a complex presonality, and using the circumstances to discuss some of the most polemic topics generally approached by naturalist authors.
I ended up enjoying this onethan I thought I would, for my studies of it I expected to be grossed out and bored but while reading it I feltpleased to see all the undertones of criticism, the awareness of the Brazilian society of 1890 s and their types and tropes Still not a fan of the Naturalism current, but it was better than I thought at first.
So do you want to read a book that defines Naturalism better than the books that created Naturalism themselves Then read this.
I absolutely loved all the parallels that exist in the novel Jo o Ram o and Miranda, the Portuguese and the Brazilians, Jeronimo and Firmo, Rita and Piedade, the corti o and cabeca de gato, prosperity and misery, slavery and freedom, life and death they all coexist in extreme tension, about to explode at any moment some of them do , and create this everlasting conflict within and beyond the walls of the corti o The author, who introduced the naturalist genre, masterfully focuses on the lower classes the poor, blacks, immigrants, prostitutes and homosexuals, people who, while ever present in Brazilian culture, had little to no representation in literature up to this point It was refreshing to read about it, people who are closer to normal and wayrelatable than the white upper class in Imperial Rio de Janeiro, which is the center of most literature books.