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Vidas Secas

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  11,457 ratings  ·  306 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 paradoxalme ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Record (first published 1938)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,457 ratings  ·  306 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 reco
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
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 misunderstoo ...more
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.
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely brilliant!
Kobe Bryant
a lot less depressing than it sounds
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. ...more
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.
Oct 20, 2020 rated it liked it
It sure is dry... but 3 stars for Baléia.
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 auth ...more
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Vocabulary very hard for me in my second language. However living in interior Brazil in the '60s enabled me to relate to the story without difficulty. I remember people like that, though the more successful homesteaders seemed to come from Minas Gerais, and not the Northeast. I'd like to read it again with a dictionary at hand. My copy is a paperback, purchased in '65, stained with red dust and falling apart. But it feels like a classic! ...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. ...more
Apr 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm still trying to find a Brazilian book I enjoy. This wasn't it. Loads of people praise this book saying it is the greatest shit ever. I don't agree. Maybe I just don't get it.
I don't usually like books set in northern Brazil or southern U.S. Maybe that's why. Dunno. I'll try to read another Brazilian classic to see if there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Apr 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books ever. I read this in the original Portuguese. It is full of amazing feeling, melancholy and when I read it, I really felt like I was with the family traveling in the Brazilian Northeast.
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... ...more
Olivia Pezzin
Feb 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: poetas e poetas-like people.
Only brazilian people will understand this brilliant play/poetry.
Antonia Zanotto
Nov 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The very essence of 500 years of history.
Natália Coelho
Sep 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
this book made me cry so hard
Izzy Wood
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: portugues
very bleak.
Extremely bleak.
Fagner Magrinelli
For me, one of the best books ever written... It depicts the Northeast Brazil exodus from the dry inner country through a family that runs away from a drought.
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written novel from Ramos here. The strength that he is able to portray in what feels like such little wordage is phenomenal.
Jan 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic Brazilian literature. This book reads more like a collection of short stories. There’s no continuation between the chapters.
Luiz Eduardo Fonseca
this book is fantastic!
Fabio Kung
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read the original version in pt-BR when I was a teenager, and have nothing but great memories of it.
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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 P

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