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Bruce Chatwin
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Der Vizekönig von Ouidah : Roman

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3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  757 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
The story of Francisco da Silva who sails to Africa in 1812 determined to make his fortune in the slave trade. Although he becomes a man of substance, his friendship with the mad, mercurial king of Dahomey threatens his dream to return to Brazil in triumph.
Published (first published 1980)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Rhys
Jul 10, 2008 Rhys rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably the best novel I've read so far this year. I had never read anything by Chatwin before this and I picked it up with the assumption it was going to just be another novel in the 'English' style. How wrong I was! Chatwin writes like a more bloody and concise version of Marquez, with an incredible ability to evoke landscapes, situations and the oddities of people. Imagine a cross between Marquez and Conrad's *Heart of Darkness* with the addition of several big spoonfuls of voodoo imagery!

Al
...more
Steve
Aug 05, 2008 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Steve by: Adam
Shelves: fiction
A grim, but outstanding story on the evils of the slave trade, with a focus on the African coast. Chatwin crafts a story that is as psychologically probing as Conrad's Heart of Darkness (Kurtz), and as bizarre as Marquez's Autumn of the Patriarch (a mad African king, a city of skulls and heads, women warriors with filed teeth). The common ground for all three is moral corruption. However, I think the "horror" of Chatwin's vision, as opposed to Conrad's, is there seems to be no recognition of des ...more
Adam
Aug 05, 2008 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A short novella absolutely packed to the gills with imagery and characters. I recognize elements from Marquez (including a definite Hundred Years of Solitude allusion) and Conrad and fans of them will find much to love here, but there is distinctive flavor that must be Chatwin’s alone. There is too much to even hint at in this book, and I guarantee some of the images will inform your dreams and fever visions. It makes sense that Herzog would film this.
Philip
Jun 02, 2010 Philip rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bruce Chatwin’s The Viceroy Of Ouidah masquerades as a small book. In 50,000 words or so, the author presents a fictionalised life that has been embroidered from truth. History, hyper-reality, the supernatural and the surreal and the cocktail that creates the heady mix through which strands of story filter. Overall the experience is much bigger than the slim book suggests.

We meet Francisco Manuel da Silva, a Brazilian born in the country’s north-east in the latter part of the eighteenth century.
...more
Boris Maksimovic
Jan 11, 2017 Boris Maksimovic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ljetos sam na PopArt marketu cijeli dan proveo pržeći se na suncu i prodajući knjige. I ko za inat, na kraju dana naletim na ovu knjigu i toliko mi se svidi da ono malo zarađene siće odmah potroših na nju. Kasnije sam je nekako izgubio pa sam je mjesecima tražio po kući, a i na mjestima gdje sam bio tog dana. A šta me je to privuklo?

"Siroče i siromah Fransisko Manoel izrastao je u jednog od onih sentimentalno okrutnih ljudi kakvima je obilovalo njegovo doba. Iz brazilskih zabiti stići će do oba
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Tia
Dec 02, 2013 Tia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: home-library
This book was complex, hard to understand and grim. It wasn't what I had expected. I'm sure if I understood the language I would've had a better understanding. However, the parts I did understand were good. Francisco had a very diverse and interesting life encountering many strange and appalling characters. Some being his own children. It is a dense read at only 105 pages. I really had to focus. I think I will stop here as I just can't and won't do this book justice.

*sorry for the mumbo jumbo re
...more
Meredith
Apr 14, 2017 Meredith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The two best things about this book: it's very short, and it's over. Depressing and hard to follow. Unfortunate because I really enjoyed another book by this author, On the Black Hill. I might come back to say more about it, but there isn't much to say.
John Winterson
Again at the risk of appearing shallow, this novel was read in the hope that it would demystify some of the intriguing details of the Herzog film 'Cobra Verde.' It did not.

Indeed, it turns out that the film is a loose adaptation of the novel, which is in turn a loose adaptation of history. This is a pity because the true story of the 19th Century Brazilian slaver Francisco Felix de Sousa is yet another example of truth being far more interesting than fiction.

In fairness, Chatwin's fictional pro
...more
E. Chainey (Bookowski)
2.5 ★


Öncelikle sizi blogumdaki yeni yazımı okumaya davet edeyim; eğer ki kölelik konusu ilginizi çekiyorsa tabii ki: http://bookowski101.blogspot.com.tr/2...

Kitaba gelecek olursam eğer, kitap öyküleme tekniği ile yazılmış bir kitap. Yani diyalog çok az. Tanıtımda da belirtildiği üzere " her satırından renkler, kokular ve sesler fışkırıyor" gerçekten de.

Yazar köle taciri Felix de Sousa'nın hayatından ilham alarak yazmış bu kitabı. Romanın kahramanı Francisco Manoel da Silva, aslında Felix de Sou
...more
Alberto Jacobo Baruqui
Un libro distinto. Su escritura es bien particular y la historia otro tanto.
Me gusta la manera como da entrada a su historia y como se sincera con el lector para notificar la falta de información dentro de sus investigaciones para dar vida a su historia, que comienza a principios del siglo XIX cuando la venta de esclavos estaba en apogeo.
Decidido a hacer fortuna en la venta de esclavos Francisco Da Silva viaja al continente negro, pero el proceso de su fortuna es extraño por lo dispar en formas
...more
Trelawn
Feb 06, 2016 Trelawn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge-2016
An interesting but dark read. It details the life of Francisco da Silva who eventually ends up as a slaver in Ouidah in Africa. He is not a likeable man by any means but his life was, in many ways, just as tough as the people he traded. The story is told in a disjointed fashion which takes away from it a little. I think a chronological telling would have worked better. This was a strange book in that there was no characters to like. Da Silva is cruel and unlikeable, the local kings are savage an ...more
Jovana Vesper
Dec 14, 2013 Jovana Vesper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Brutal, cruel and fantastic book. Bruce's skills to express complete tragicomedy of dom Francisco's life (as well as the lives of his family and the people with whom he came in contact) with short, clear, journalistic sentences is just breathtaking. It is a small book in size but layered with information, characters, psychological profiles and all the absurdity, oddity and wretchedness of slave trade, war, culture and life in Africa.
Alber Vázquez
¿Novela? sin argumento claro, sin trama, sin demasiado interés... Bah, muy poco cosa y Chatwin aburriendo a las vacas.
Oceana2602
Okay, let's face it: as much as I loved Chatwin's travel novels, I never liked his other novels much. They are dry, confusing, stiff. This one is no exception.
Feliks
Feb 13, 2015 Feliks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-general
Gorgeous, lush, sultry, steamy, ribald, unexpurgated, frank, salty. Bold. Ferocious. God damn, I wish there were more books like this today. Instead of the chickensh*t, sanctimonious, cowardly, feeble milksop-scribblings we have to endure in the 'PC' era.

Yep. There's really no contemporary book I'm aware of (other than this gem) which embraces all the awesomeness and vileness of being human. Celebrates it! As one ought to! To hell with people's prurient sensibilities, to hell with the easily-of
...more
Andrea Fiore
Feb 23, 2017 Andrea Fiore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bruce Chatwin avrebbe apprezzato queste parole di Elias Canetti: "Quando si viaggia si prende tutto come viene, lo sdegno rimane a casa. Si osserva, si ascolta, ci si entusiasma per le cose più atroci solo perché sono nuove. I buoni viaggiatori sono gente senza cuore”. In questo caso anche se parliamo di un romanzo e non di un resoconto di viaggio, lo sguardo e soprattutto il timbro sono proprio quelli del viaggiatore: la morbosità a cui alludeva Canetti, il gusto per l'aneddoto, e soprattutto l ...more
Peter
Feb 26, 2017 Peter rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brazilië
Weinig diepgang, veel stereotypen. Chatwin had overduidelijk Garcia Marquez gelezen, maar waar die laatste vanuit zijn eigen leefwereld schreef komt het verhaal van Chatwin als bedacht en bijeengeraapt over.
Lisa
Feb 16, 2017 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bruce Chatwin wrote of places and this book was about Dahomey, the country now known as Benin. As I read it, I forget that Mr. chatwin is not a native of the place he writes about. He manages to adopt the rhythm off Dahomey and of Brazil, which also figures prominently in this book. Like a Gabriel Garcia Marquez book, the generations blur lines from one to the other making this hard to follow at times. But really interesting to read.
Chris Gager
My next book. Got the title from writing trivia questions from Halliwell's movie book. My edition is hardcover with a different picture. On "my" cover the guy is unshaven. My edition also has 155 pages...

I'm well past midway in this short novel. So far its been reasonably engrossing, a story hyped-up by the author's ultra-modern treatment. This is actually historical fiction and tells the a story that might be missed among all the big stuff. That's a good thing. I love the bit about all those de
...more
Julián
Narra la historia de un traficante de esclavos, brasileño y blanco, que se instala en el puerto de Ouidah, desde donde despacha la mercancía que le facilita el rey de Dahomey. El protagonista, basado en un personaje real, nace en medio de la miseria en el sertao brasileño y, dando tumbos y sobreviviendo de milagro, llega a Bahía. Entabla relaciones con una familia poderosa que le propone hacerse cargo del tráfico de esclavos en Ouidah, en la costa del golfo de Guinea. Allí padece los caprichos d ...more
Stig
Mar 13, 2010 Stig rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-in-english
Dazzling novel about a Brazilian slave trader who settles in the Kingdom of Dahomey in West Africa where he spawns an enormous family of mulatto Da Silvas. Lots of brutality, of course, and Francisco da Silva is by no means a nice man, but you do end up feeling some sympathy for him in the final part of the book where everything falls apart for him.

But there is more to this short novel than just the story of Francisco da Silva. The first part is a brief, but sadly precise account of life in 197
...more
Nell Grey
Feb 22, 2012 Nell Grey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The star system fails me here, so please ignore the meaning of the four star rating I've given, as I can't honestly say that I 'really liked it'. This is doubtless due to personal taste, as I admire Chatwin's works tremendously. I do think 'it was amazing', but my rating reflects the trauma and horror suffered during reading, the fact that I was constantly trying to distinguish truth from fiction and the difficulties of remembering and keeping track of the different characters. An automatic dict ...more
Susan
I selected this book because I wanted to break the totally Euro-centric mold of my reading. Admittedly, Chatwin was European (British), but he writes about such exotic locales and topics. In this case, Dahomey (now known as Benin), once at the heart of the slave trade. This book is a fictional account of the Brazilian who ran the slave trade in Dahomey and it's fascinating and bizarre. It reminded me that there's a whole world out there which isn't Europe, which always amazes me because I am so ...more
Isa
Jun 25, 2010 Isa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Was reading this because of Werner Herzog's (not very well received) movie "Cobra Verde", which is loosely based on this. -- Both movie and book are quite OK, not really masterpieces but still enjoyable -- and I think, I like the movie better, conveys more mystery and drama, the book is more over-the-top in comparison. -- Thinking about it, it's rather pessimistic - the characters hardly have any aspirations but still fail tremendously, fundamentally. Not even "wasting your life in beauty" or he ...more
Thurston Hunger
Jan 14, 2013 Thurston Hunger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like hearing the death-bed confession of a madman, swaddled in sweaty bandages and delirious with fever. Big jumps, taller tales, more than a hint of the truth and a whiff of disease as well.

I came to this by way of the Herzog film "Cobra Verde" and am glad I did so. Don't know enough about the process of Chatwin, but some of the quick captures from the past are as visceral as they are fleeting.

Left me with the sensation of a man larger than life, but so much smaller than fate. Music seemed to
...more
Riley Haas
Jan 04, 2017 Riley Haas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Is this mythology as history? Or maybe narrative journalism as history? I saw Cobra Verde ages ago and I didn't know this was the source material. If memory serves, it was very liberally adapted. This is an absolutely crazy story, and at this remove I'm not sure if it matters what is true and what isn't. It's a fascinating and bizarre situation during a bizarre time and this kind of approach, well over a century removed, makes the whole story more alive, even if it maybe isn't accurate."
Felisberto
Apr 12, 2012 Felisberto rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Leitura surpresa...leitura decepção

Peguei neste livro por acaso e foi uma desilusão completa. Compreendo que historicamente o livro possa estar bem contextualizado e o tema sobre o qual se debruça é de máximo interesse, o que me levou a lê-lo, mas a história, a meu ver, está fraca. A narrativa não é nada empolgante, tem detalhes que não transportam qualquer emoção de uma terra quente, viva e dinâmica. Foi o meu primeiro livro deste autor e tão cedo não devo pegar noutro dele.
Dougal Bain
Jul 12, 2012 Dougal Bain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Like a fusion of Marquez, McCarthy, Conrad and de Bernieres. This little novella combines the story of an eccentric African extended family coming together and the historical story of the larger than life founding figure.
Beautifully told, Chatwin mixes some nightmarish scenes with bizarre humour. To someone who is no expert on the subject this novella seems to provide some insight into West Africa, where it has come from and where it may go.
Kevin Argus
Jul 01, 2013 Kevin Argus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Viceroy of Ouidah was my first introduction to the brilliance of Bruce Chatwin. Another educative context, the slave trade from Africa to Latin America. This book had me engrossed from the first chapter to the last. I felt it filled a gap in my historical knowledge and presented an insight in to the conflicted minds of Latin American men that Chatwin and Marquez both wrote about (both sharing a love of South America).
Jeff Jackson
Apr 04, 2009 Jeff Jackson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating miniature: A generation-spanning saga compacted to 150 pages, with prose and imagery as lush as Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Brilliant but occasionally remote, it recounts the bloody and perverse true-life account of a Brazilian slaver in Africa during the 1800s. The basis for Werner Herzog's movie "Cobra Verde."
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Charles Bruce Chatwin was an English novelist and travel writer. He won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his novel On the Black Hill (1982). In 1972, Chatwin interviewed the 93-year-old architect and designer Eileen Gray in her Paris salon, where he noticed a map of the area of South America called Patagonia, which she had painted. "I've always wanted to go there," Bruce told her. "So have ...more
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