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The Slum
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3/4-4/24/16 - Brazil > The Slum * discussion

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Ruth | 673 comments What do you think of the book?


Ruth | 673 comments I'm a couple of chapters into this. I'm not sure where it's going yet. The characters are interesting and funny in a sarcastic way. Kind of like watching Seinfeld or Peep Show where you laugh at the characters because they are so awful!

Interesting to hear the Portuguese colonial perspective in which Brazil is viewed as a place you go to get rich, planning to return to Portugal to live out the rest of your life. It's sad to think of how resources/wealth have been removed from developing countries to benefit people from wealthier nations.


Ruth | 673 comments I'm so glad to hear that you're enjoying the group!

I'm on chapter 6 and do enjoy the 'pitter patter' of life and the sarcastic wit. I had to make myself a character list last night though - with 38 named characters by chapter 6 - I was having trouble remembering who was who!


message 4: by Ruth (last edited Apr 20, 2016 05:24PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ruth | 673 comments *Spoiler Alert*

I finished this one yesterday. It was an enjoyable read. You can hardly tell it was written in 1890 since the people face the same human dilemmas and frailties that we do today.

The racism in the book was tragic and I hope that's one way we have moved on from 1890. It was unpleasant to read that, but perhaps it was realistic. I would have liked to have known Bertoleza's personality better. They portray her like a beast of burden and do not show her spirit until the end. Although the racism in the novel was shocking to read, they were more advanced than we were in the USA at that time. At least they had mixing of races. Traveling to Brazil in 2000, I was surprised by the ethnic variety of the people I met. People with all combinations of skin color, hair color and features. Combinations that are much more rare here in the 'land of the free.'

I felt like there was a dry humor to the writing. Like the author was sitting back and laughing at the stupidity of his characters and their wrestling for wealth and status. Although racism is present in the writing, the author does not seem to agree with it. He points out the hypocracy of his characters in the end when Joao gives over the slave, while the abolitionists pull up outside of his home to award him a medal!


message 5: by Alison (new)

Alison | 23 comments I constantly had to remind myself that this book is over 100 years old. I imagine if the characters had cell phones, this exact book could be written today.

I found it to be an unusual book in that the characters are all pretty much losers who think only of themselves, but somehow the overall tone was upbeat. I wasn't depressed when I finished the book - although the ending was definitely the most depressing part. This was a good choice!


Ruth | 673 comments Enjoyed your comments and I agree!


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