“I made the same mistake that people have been making since the beginning of time, thinking that you can change yourself just by going somewhere else. Meu Deus, I sound like a self-help book.”
Middle-aged André is running. After long, long years he is still running. Running from his story, from his feelings but especially from himself. He wanted to change everything about himself by just reneging his roots, without trying to come to terms with everything that happened. “Freshly” dumped by his wife, submerged by work, just existing, it’s finally time to deal with past demons. Vague letters received from Luana, the love of his life and half sister, spiral him downward into the past. Fresh weaves of suffering start poring into the pages of the novel. Between letters, present time events and lots of flashbacks we find out everything there is to know about André. A story of inconsolable suffering; of dark family secrets; of loss with no redemption.
Beautifully penned. Very evocative, really cinematic, I’d say. Brazil was dancing before my eyes. With everything so stereotypical Brazilian: parties until all hours, people on beaches, the constant violence, the unbearable heath condemning people to just exist. Yet everything is so gloomy. A gloom that’s so deep that you cannot escape it no matter how far you run. It felt like the underbelly of Brazil got exposed.
I felt heartbroken but especially furious and frustrated on André’s behalf. What might be a strange notion in the Western part of the world, is a normal or at least often seen occurrence in other parts of the globe. Parents consider they own their kids’ life and they need to forge said kids’ future. This belief that parents know better, that they have all the right in the world to intervene, to push or even force their kids into a certain path in life is an oppressive and hurtful practice. We get a good experience of just that with André’s story and you just cannot stop yourself from thinking(or at least I couldn’t :D) : “with what fucking right did he did that”, “with what fucking right did he messed his son’s life forever?”. And everything is so much more frustrating when many questions are left unanswered and you imagine André puzzling over them for the rest of his life. What’s even more heart-wrenching is the bitter-sweet after-taste of history repeating itself. While I am sure the last thing André would have wanted was to emulate his father, he definitely ended up repeating some of his father’s mistakes. Or for a better explanation he kind of took similar decision who made his life a sort of duplicate of his father’s. And I hated that, I hated that with a passion because it forced me to feel a bit of compassion when I only wanted to hate and judge!
* Copy kindly give by the publisher. Thank you Penguin books and NetGalley
** Honest review