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Spilt Milkby Chico Buarque
Synopses & Reviews
From world-renowned Brazilian writer Chico Buarque comes a stylish, imaginative tale of love, loss, and longing, played out across multiple generations of one Brazilian family. At once jubilant and painfully nostalgic, playful and devastatingly urgent, Spilt Milk cements Chico Buarques reputation as a masterful storyteller.
As Eulálio Assumpção lies dying in a Brazilian public hospital, his daughter and the attending nurses are treated—whether they like it or not—to his last, rambling monologue. Ribald, hectoring, and occasionally delusional, Eulálio reflects on his past, present, and future—on his privileged, plantation-owning family; his fathers philandering with beautiful French whores; his own half-hearted career as a weapons dealer; the eventual decline of the family fortune; and his passionate courtship of the wife who would later abandon him. As Eulálio wanders the sinuous twists and turns of his own fragmented memories, Buarque conjures up a brilliantly evocative portrait of a mans life and love, set in the broad sweep of vivid Brazilian history.
"Lovely details and a fine sense of place are offset by sluggish plotting and underdeveloped characters in this slim novel from Brazilian singer/composer Buarque. EulÃ¡lio d'AssumpÃ§Ã£o is from an affluent Brazilian family. Now elderly, ill, and living in a nursing home, his memory is not always reliable. Echoing Sebald's Rings of Saturn, in his bedroom EulÃ¡lio recalls his life: the opulent mansion in the Copacabana section of Rio de Janeiro where he grew up; his prominent ancestry; a senator father and fashionable mother who traveled to Europe to buy clothes for every season; and the economic difficulties that have made his current situation nowhere near as grand as his past. In first- and second-person, EulÃ¡lio talks of meeting his wife, Matilde, at the memorial service for his father. She was wearing a 'garment as rigid as armor... a naked body under it could have danced without being noticed,' and his desire for her is instant and extraordinary. The two marry and start a family, but a visiting French engineer tests these nascent bonds. There's plenty to like, though more of a sense of the sweeping grandeur of history, or a more energetic storyteller, would have made it more effective. Agent: Laurence Laluyaux, Rogers, Coleridge and White, U.K." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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