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Vidas Secas

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  8,924 ratings  ·  199 reviews
Vidas secas, lançado originalmente em 1938, é o romance em que mestre Graciliano — tão meticuloso que chegava a comparecer à gráfica no momento em que o livro entrava no prelo, para checar se a revisão não haveria interferido em seu texto — alcança o máximo da expressão que vinha buscando em sua prosa. O que impulsiona os personagens é a seca, áspera e cruel, e ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Record (first published 1938)
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Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,924 ratings  ·  199 reviews

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Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The chapter... yes, that chapter.

Another reason to learn Portuguese.
May 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If Graciliano Ramos' intention was to convey the reason that " the city from the backland would come ever more and more of its sons, a never-ending stream of strong, strapping brutes....", then he was absolutely successful! Painting the backland family headed by Fabiano and Vitoria, along with their two boys, the reader cannot help but feel despair and an intense desire for change from the drought-ridden, hard-scrabble existence of this family. Simple people, depicted essentially as beasts ...more
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the most amazing stories of brazilian literature.
Sarah Sammis
Barren Lives (1938) covers a brief period of time in the life of a family as they try to eke out a living as farm hands on a ranch in a small village. Thematically the book reminds me of The Grapes of Wrath (1939) by John Steinbeck except that the family is more hopeful in Barren Lives because they are still on the move at the end of the book. Steinbeck's family reaches the promised land (California) only to find poverty and exploitation.

The book is written in a straightforward manner. The text
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lady Avalon
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. A quick but not an easy read, and whether you like it or not, it will not leave you indifferent.
"(..) Sabia perfeitamente que era assim, acostumara-se a todas as violências, a todas as injustiças. E aos conhecidos que dormiam no tronco e agüentavam cipó de boi oferecia consolações: - "Tenha
paciência. Apanhar do governo não é desfeita.” It saddens me that so little has changed, not only in Brazil but in so many countries around the world. I'd certainly
Alex Boehling
Having read many works by authors from the Latin American "Boom Period" such as V.S. Naipul, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Edwidge Danticat, Alejo Carpentier, and Jorge Amado, I was not as impressed with Graciliano Ramos. "Barren Lives" induces a feeling of sympathy for the impoverished people in Latin America that are constantly looking for a better existence, but it is not as powerful or moving as a text like Naipul's "Miguel Street," for example. I was, however, left with a better understanding of ...more
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel-the-world
Fabiano and Vitoria are fleeing with their two sons and an elderly dog from their home because of the drought that is plaguing the land. They find an abandoned ranch and decide to stay. They are barely hanging on. They find that the ranch isn't abandoned, but has an absentee landowner, who hires Fabiano to take care of the livestock. This is a spare novel without embellishments. I felt as though I were right there with them. Fabiano feels as though he is constantly being cheated and ...more
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely brilliant!
Feb 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: south-america
Ramos was born into a poor Brazilian family and was illiterate until he was nine - yet he became a writer. Not unexpectedly, he describes a complete inability to inflate his writing style, or even write about something that he hasn't personally experienced. While Barren Lives isn't a roman a clef, Ramos's background is readily apparent in this simple story of a wretchedly poor (and illiterate) farming family trying to live between droughts on the plains of northeastern Brazil. The plot reminded ...more
Vic Heinz
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I liked the story. However, bigger, much bigger than the plot, what makes this book a masterpiece is the artistic skill of Graciliano Ramos. The absence of time, the almost journalistic report, the inhospitable landscape and the arid weather that launch us into a suffocating life, the ultra flow of consciousness that allows us total omniscience, the alternance of formal and regional expressions, first person account that comples us to compassion, all this reveal the immense sagacity of this ...more
Valéria Serpa
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
It is amazing how age can truly be an issue when it comes to reading a book. I've read this book 3 times in my life time. When I was 12, 16 and in 2012 at the age of 22. My perception changed completely and I was finally able to enjoy this amazing book and actually feel the pain of Baleia.
Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Supposedly one of the most important novels of the Brasilian Realism. It was ok reading it, and I feel slightly less guilty for having neglected South American literature for so long until recently. But on the other hand I could've made it without reading this book just as well...
Natália Coelho
Sep 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
this book made me cry so hard
Sophia Spadão
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I never thought I would enjoy reading this. The way he writes about the characters and the setting... It just fits so nicely. Well done.
Sep 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is such a great book. Written so well. Emotionally charged. Will recommend.
Gregg Narber
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the first books I read in Portuguese when I was an exchange student in Brazil so long ago. It certainly was easier to read in translation. A Brazilian classic, it is focused on a family that drought conditions in the backlands of rural Northeast Brazil forces to pick up and look for greener pastures (well, relatively) on foot. Barefoot and hungry, at one point they (man, wife, and two young sons) eat their pet parrot - they have few regrets as it really talked very little (no ...more
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Baleia’s chapter is as sad as someone says and I wasn’t ready for that.

Reading the unpredictability day-to-day life of a family who suffers with the backwoods drought is heartbreaking and in many ways hopeless.

I don’t think I’ve connected with the characters as much as I wanted to - even though we have a chapter for every single one of them - I believe that the dog’s perspective and feelings were somewhat less subtle and it was easier to capture.

However, reading the book gave me a different
A short novel chronicling the hand-to-mouth existence of a family struggling during an extended period of drought. We first meet Fabiano, Vitoria and their 2 little boys as they flee a parched land to relocate in a more auspicious part of the same province. They settle on an abandoned farm and make a go of it. Although their landlord shamelessly exploits them when he finds out, they thrive during a few seasons. When the drought spreads to this area as well, they have to pack up and move on ...more
Suzana Luchesi
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A dry book about dry lives in a dry land is what it looks like if you don't pay attention to it (and this is why most Brazilian teenagers hate it). Once you've matured as a reader and gain the ability to really appreciate the story as a literary construct, a work of art with words more than just a story, and to understand the characters better, it blows your mind. Especially when you realize why the dog is the most human character in the entire book.
Artur Gomes Janz
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is probably one of the most sensible, sad, and yet beautiful books in Brazilian literature. People look like animal and animals look like people in this social critique full of psychologic aspects. I advise you: this book will probably make you cry a couple of times.
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
10/10 stars.
Kevin Richardson
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
my favorite book of brasil literatures, recomended.
Jul 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think this translated particularly well, but I have no intention of giving Ramos up yet. The introduction in my copy made me think I should certainly read others of his work.
Alan Bessa
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Great depth, couldn't show a bigger picture.
Andre Piucci
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it

#-#-# TO READ #-#-#

Fernanda Ferraz
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
A classic from my youth. Master piece.
Gabriel Lando
Dec 14, 2016 rated it did not like it
Albeit its major role in Brazilian literature, this book is by far not as enjoyable as other Brazilian classics. If you haven't read Guimarães Rosa or Machado de Assis, maybe you can extract some beauty out of it, but the writting is dry and dull. Maybe this was Graciliano's intention: to write dully such that the reader could understand the drought... It didn't work, at least not for me. Guimarães Rosa has painted the Brazilian dry lands and sertões in a much more polished manner than ...more
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Not one of my favorites, but I can see why it's so important to brazilian literature
Og Maciel
Jul 31, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
My first time reading Graciliano Ramos but I knew about this book from other folks who read it growing up for school. This is the story about how Fabiano, Vitoria, their two small children, "baleia" (whale) the dog and a parrot find themselves fighting for their lives (the parrot is not so lucky and quickly becomes dinner before the end of the first chapter) as they wonder one of the most desolate and arid regions of Brazil, in search for a job and a chance for survival. The characters are ...more
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2017 Reading Chal...: Barren Lives by Graciliano Ramos 1 11 Aug 23, 2015 05:36PM  

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Graciliano Ramos was widely considered one of the most important Brazilian authors of the 20th century. He was a seminal voice in the literary "regionalism" movement.
As a child Ramos lived in many cities of Northeastern Brazil, stricken by poverty and severe weather conditions (droughts). After high-school, Graciliano went to Rio de Janeiro where he worked as a journalist. In 1915 he traveled to
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“Se aprendesse qualquer coisa, necessitaria aprender mais, e nunca ficaria satisfeito.” 10 likes
“Tinha o coração grosso, queria responsabilizar alguém pela sua desgraça.” 5 likes
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