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Nowhere People

by Paulo Scott

If you think a novel about the plight of Brazil’s indigenous people sounds a bit dry and remote, this book will prove you wrong! Race, dispossession, identity and loss are brought to vivid life through the tragic, ambivalent love affair between a rich white Brazilian boy and a poor Guarani Indian girl. However, Paulo’s no spoilt brat and Maina’s no helpless victim. No easy answers to the big questions here, but lots of food for thought.

Extract

Maina opens the door of the van. There are two small Indians sitting right at the back and an old Indian lady in the middle row, the same row she sits in as the van continues through the other encampments. And during the journey Maina remembers for the first time the moment when, still in a state of shock, she moistened her index finger in one of the pools of blood, then walked over to the white room and, without her feet touching the front steps, wiped her finger against the door, cursing it, damning it once again. The camper van enters the bounds of the city. Maina’s attention gets caught up by the roads in the city that she knew when she was six years old, where she watched her first tv and heard her first radio, when she began to register all the objects that the grown-ups handled, when she realised there was a whole world made specially for her not to be able to get into.
Translated by Daniel Hahn

Parallels

Perla by Carolina De Robertis
Captains of the Sands by Jorge Amado
City of God by Paulo Lins
 

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