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Grande Sertão: Veredas

(Corpo de Baile #2)

4.57  ·  Rating details ·  4,016 ratings  ·  312 reviews
A estilização das peculiaridades das falas sertanejas, sempre recorrente na obra de Guimarães Rosa, atinge seu auge neste consagrado romance. Rosa reinventa a língua e eleva o sertão ao contexto da literatura universal, compondo o cenário de uma narrativa lírica e épica, uma lição de luta e valorização do homem. Eleito um dos cem livros mais importantes de todos os tempos ...more
Brochura, 624 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Nova Fronteira (first published 1956)
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Vit Babenco
Mar 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Devil to Pay in the Backlands is generously and lushly multilayered: a soldier of fortune’s tale, historical saga, insurgent chronicles and even a delicate romantic mystery – and always at the highest narrative level.
What is the nature of Devil? Is he the antagonist of God? Or is he just the other side of God? When you’re at war are you on the side of God or the Devil? When you’re in love is your love inspired by God or by the Devil?
What is not of God is of the devil’s domain. God exists eve
Mike Bull
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wouldn't have discovered this book without my brother, who mentioned it to me in late 2012.

Wow! After reading it, now I understand why in a 2002 poll of 100 noted writers (see this book's entry in Wikipedia) the book was named among the top 100 books of all time!!!
This is all the more amazing because in the English speaking world the book is all but unknown and very hard to get in print. However, check online and you may be able to download a pdf copy.

The book is set in the wild backlands of B
Sertao is a territory of nameless harshness. It is hot and humid there, and the land belongs only to the large landowners who, to defend themselves, hire formidable mercenaries, the jagunços, who employed to the highest bidder. As in all South American literature, nature occupies a place in its own right, becoming a character in which men blend in, whom they bless as much as they damn her.
Long monologue, without chapters and almost without dialogues, Diadorim tries to read a long journey through
Sidharth Vardhan

“I speak with twisted words. I narrate my life, which I did not understand. You are a very clever man, of learning and good sense. But don't get impatient, don't expect rain during the month of August. I'll soon tell you, I'm coming to the subject that you are waiting for. Did the Evil One exist ?"

Okay, first things first, if nothing in this review makes you want to read it than remember that this work has been called ‘Ulysses of Portuguese Literature’ (not at all as challenging as Ulyssess
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Learn the name Alison Entrekin. She is translating. Translating Grande Sertão: Veredas.

The excerpt ::

What she says ::
"When in Hell, Embrace the Devil: On Recreating “Grande Sertão: Veredas” in English"

"Alison Entrekin is an Australian literary translator working from the Portuguese. Her translations include City of God by Paulo Lins, The Eternal Son by Cristovão Tezza, Near to the Wild Heart by Clarice Lispector, Bud
Sep 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
UPDATE: Thoughts after rereading the book this year.

This novel from Brazil was a haphazard record of Riobaldo's tale of his adventures as a member of a jagunço (armed ruffian) outfit under different leaders. He was speaking to an unnamed man, a learned person, almost certainly a writer who was interviewing the retired bandit in order to write about his exploits. The tale was told out of order, following the unpredictable courses of winding rivers, branching out into various tributaries. Characte
Jenn McCollum Avery
The Devil to Pay is the first Brazilian novel that I've ever read and it is one of the most explicit and beautiful explorations of gender and sexuality in literature: particularly of masculinity and male love. (It's a shame that it's out of print.)

In short, the narrator is Riobaldo who, like Scheherazade from One Thousand and One Nights, seems to be storytelling as away to save his life. The narrative is winding, out of order, repetitive and somewhat unreliable but it functions as a way to learn
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You frequently hear how terrible this translation is... and how it does the original such a disservice. What’s incredible is despite this, the English translation still reads like a masterpiece of the highest order. I can’t even imagine how good it truly is. Assuming you can locate this book (or wait another 10 years for that ‘new translation’ to finally hit), send this one to the tippy top of that TBR shelf.
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Grande Sertao: Veredas, by Joao Guimaraes Rosa
Translated as The Devil to Pay in the Backlands

This is a great book. I loved it.
It seems that I am growing very fond of the Latin American Literature…I loved Marques and Llosa and now I discovered with great joy Guimaraes Rosa.

This is a long, fascinating book. The heroes are for the most part the jacuncos, roaming through the “Grande Sertao” of the title…
The Devil? It seems He does not exist, in spite of the many names with which he is often mentione
Gustavo Euclides
wonderful book. haven't read a prose this good in a while, can't help but put it near joyce, both in quality and style.

600 pages of continuous monologue with no chapters defined.
600 pages of impecable prose, line-by-line, with a observative and descriptive 'power', coupled with knowledge and experience about the subjects in the book, resembling melville at times.

wonderful brazilian modernist book.
Jur Koksma
Sep 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Not enough stars to rate this book. Absolute No 1 in literature ever. Light years ahead of anything else.
Poet Gentleness
Can you sell your soul to the devil?

Firstly: My spoilers won't disclose the surprising end. They are merely my humble opinion on determined parts of the book.

Grande Sertão: Veredas (The Devil to Pay in the Backlands) is a subjective challenge to the reader to judge - or not - Riobaldo's choices, as he takes to judges himself, taking one through a plethora of mixed feelings that are deconstructed and reconstructed in 600 pages of a tumultuous novel.

In a monologue, written with mystical colors, "c
Fábio Fernandes
Jan 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I seldom read in Portuguese these days. This is one of the very few books I keep returning to. Maybe the best Brazilian novel ever written. Every time I feel like writing fiction in Portuguese again (less and less as the years go by) I find myself being called back to Rosa and his fiction.
Hannah Foster
Living is a dangerous business, isn't it?
It is for the life of Jaguncos.

This novel follows an old man telling his life-story to a man passing by his town.
The entire novel is written in his first person narrative.

The story flops back and forth a lot--out of chronological order-- to different moments in his past, because he's essentially telling the whole story of his life, and when one does that, it's hard to tell it all in order.

He goes from being Riobaldo the Jagunco, to Tatarana the sharp shoo
Grande Sertão is the story of Riobaldo, a jagunço, one of the many warriors that roamed the great plains of northeastern Brazil during the 19th and 20th century, dispersing justice where the government had no eyes or power. Wandering across the sertão with other jagunços, Riobaldo lived without a home, without relatives, without any clear direction, doubting God and the devil, doubting everything. There was only one thing he really cared for: his friendship with Diadorim, his fellow jagunço, his ...more
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Marloes by: my zenteacher
I just finished it. I'm overwhelmed, it's truly my all-time-favorite. So beautiful, the sertao... ...more
Flavia Sparacino
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
a favorite. I read the Italian translation. I was crying with tears at the end. I can't remember another book moving me so profoundly. ...more
Apr 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Big Boys
Recommended to Mala by: Miguel's Interview, Part 1
"The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."
— Verbal Kint, The Usual Suspects, by way of Baudelaire.

Living is a very dangerous business as our narrator Riobaldo never tires of reminding us.
And who would know it better than this seasoned jagunço*, recalling a bloody past mostly spent fighting/overthrowing rival bands of outlaws in the Brazilian sertão**. There are good bandits and there are bad bandits & sometimes it's hard to tell the difference - the line
Heidi Norwig
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Pity there aren't more than 5 stars to rate this exceptional work, one of the greatest books of all times. And I have to say that the fact of being a native Portuguese speaker is a reason of the most wonderful joy for me, to be able to drown myself in all this poetic beauty and philosophy ...more
Annelise Lestrange
I hated this book more than I can ever possibly say. I can't even talk about it because it's not worth it. I don't care if it is a brazilian classic, it's just terrible. ...more
Gianluca Ciccarelli
This is just too hard. Maybe I'll try to read it in Italian one day.

The sound of the prose is enticing, but I've been spending most of my time on a dictionary looking up words, and many of them I couldn't even find. Almost forty pages in, I still couldn't understand what was going on.

Just not for me (yet).
Rafael Junior
I didn't actually read, at least not yet. But i think it's important to point out that due to the fact that the novel was written using northeast brazillian oral language, the english translation lost it.

The english translation is in fact way easier to read.

When i first tried to read it the first word was a mistery to me.
What the hell's that i wondered, someone? something?

Later i found my self checking the english translation.
"It's nothing"

If i had to translate a english book to portug
Gabriel Lando
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
How did Guimarães Rosa not get a Nobel Prize?

This is an ubiquitous question. Academics all around the world, from Slovenia to Japan, are simply dazzled by the fact that this man, without a doubt the most talented Brazilian writer of all time, did not receive the prize. If you put aside Veredas, you still have at least four of his books that are worth a lifetime of reading. If you include Veredas, which can be seen as the Brazilian Faust, there is simply no excuse: Rosa was one of the best writer
I discovered this book because I really like Latin American authors like Llosa, Marquez, Saragamo, Amado, Fuentes and Azuela etc and heard about it as being a novel included in the Nobel world literature top 100 (as selected by the worlds best 54 authors).

The story is about two men (Riobaldo and Diadorim) and their close relation as they interact with the various factions and leaders of bandit groups. There is much travel and chasing around the Sertao' area of Brazil. There is lots of rivalry,
The Devil To Pay In The Backlands by João Guimarães Rosa also known as The Devil in the Street in the Middle of the Wirlwind was written in Portuguese by the Brazilian author João Guimarães Rosa in 1956 and translated to English by James L Taylor and Harriet de de Onís in 1963. I read a first edition translated in 1963 book. Reportedly all translations are poor but also thePortugese is archaic and colloquial, making it a very difficult book to translate. The translation by Taylor and de Onis is ...more
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 2014, favourites
I heard about this book quite a while ago and have been searching for it ever since, even given the warnings that the English version does not fully capture the brilliance of the original. Recently, I found a PDF copy I could download and jumped. I was not disappointed. I was taken in by Riobaldo's story of a bandit's life in the backlands of Brazil. How he struggled with his belief/non-belief in the Devil and of fate. How he couldn't deny his forbidden love for Diadorim. How he realized that co ...more
Sonja Leser
Nothing that I write here will live up to this book. However I found a superb review about it, which I recommend you to read:

Sometimes I had the impression it is a giant poem, other times I had the impression it is alive: you go back some pages, read them again and it seems different than before. I read a (Brazilian) Portuguese edition and bookmarked parts I found especially beautiful. I recommend you to do it. After a while, open the book again and rerea
Brooke Salaz
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Immersive tale recounted by a now elderly man who once lived as an outlaw, jagunco, in the Brazilian backlands, or sertao, far from any city. He is telling of these years and how he entered and left this violent world to an anonymous listener who seems to be passing through his current home where he has settled and lived respectably since that long ago time. Vivid and sometimes almost unbearably brutal, the natural world plays a large role as we travel with Reinaldo and his band of companions to ...more
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: brazil, fiction, favorites
This is a true masterpiece. I need to reread it several times. I need to read it for the rest of my life.

Riobaldo is in a conversation talking about his life as a jagunço in the grande sertão. We get to know his friends and his enemies, his lovers and his one true love. This flows as two people talking drinking coffee. It is a masterpiece not only because the story is amazing, not only because the narrative is amazing, not only because this is an author who really mastered the language, but also
I found out about this book from the World Library's list of the 100 Best Books of All Time (

It appears that the only English edition is flawed, and out of print anyway ($275 USD on Amazon for a used copy!). Lamentably, I have to surrender to the realization that I will not be reading this book unless a new translation comes along.
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João Guimarães Rosa (27 June 1908 - 19 November 1967) was a Brazilian novelist, considered by many to be one of the greatest Brazilian novelists born in the 20th century. His best-known work is the novel Grande Sertão: Veredas (translated as The Devil to Pay in the Backlands). Some people consider this to be the Brazilian equivalent of Ulysses.

Guimarães Rosa was born in Cordisburgo in the state of

Other books in the series

Corpo de Baile (3 books)
  • Manuelzão e Miguilim
  • Noites do Sertão

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