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Little Star of Bela Luaby Luana Monteiro
Synopses & Reviews
A luminous fish appears in an impoverished village like a sign from God and proceeds to perform questionable miracles on its foolish, desperate citizens. A guitar-strumming rhymester triumphs over her male opponents in the competitive folk art of the repente only to find herself ensnared in a romantic trap of her own making. A handsome, sexually conflicted priest must confront the uneasy space between spiritual rapture and the aching pleasures of the flesh. A young Brazilian girl enamored of American television shows discovers that the United States is much more complex and frustrating than a cartoon. Welcome to the rich, textured worl of the Sertao, teeming with scheming camilies, conniving politicians, magical creatures, loyal and disloyal friends. Luana Monteiro plumbs the mysteries of enduring love, sudden shifts of fate, unknowable forces churning just beyond our ability to grasp. Little Star of Bela Lua announces the debut of a whimsical yet wise writer whose lyric gifts and
"A novella and three short stories make up Monteiro's lyrical debut, set in provincial Brazil and imbued with miracle and magic. The charismatic title character of 'Antonio De Juvita,' a mama's boy and sure-bet mayoral candidate, abandons his political career for the military after his opponent blames him for the fire that destroyed his pharmacy. In 'Curado,' a middle-aged doctor risks his wife's wrath to care for a defecating turkey (a gift from a patient), sworn to protect all living creatures ever since he amazingly survived a venomous snake bite as a youth. In 'The Whirling Dove,' oversexed Clo indulges in compulsive infidelity until she finds God and develops 'eyes or rather, heart, for one man' alone: Jesus. The title novella begins with a miraculous fish who cures the blind and the handicapped, and ends with Uriel, a 124-year-old man who drank the waters the fish inhabited and may be doomed to live forever. The colorful chaos of Brazilian streets, the mystical witnessings of believers and the energy of a passionate people enliven Monteiro's vibrant pages." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"This book is dazzling. Lyrical and original, fierce and wise, sensual, intelligent, observant, and laugh out loud funny. Who could possibly ask for more? I loved it." Elizabeth Berg, Author of The Year of Pleasures
"In Luana Monteiro's finely wrought stories and her novella, she manages the high wire act of making the magical commonplace and the commonplace magical. Her stories are richly inhabited by ghosts and miracle workers, mothers, daughters, husbands and lovers, priests and ordinary sinners. The language is both precise and lyrical. Little Star of Bela Lua is a lovely debut collection." Jane Hamilton, Author of The Book of Ruth
"Little Star of Bela Lua (Delphinium Books), by first-time Brazilian-American author Luana Monteiro, consists of a novella and a trio of stories that explore the meaning of the miraculous, the illogic of the human heart, and the mysteries beneath the seemingly banal, which Monteiro exposes in language both light as air and earthy as the black bean soup one character serves up in 'Little Star' — the scent of the dish 'as discernible and harmonious as instruments in an orchestra.'" Elle Magazine
"[A] sparkling debut....Full of the smells and cadences of the old country, these are pleasant, whimsical tales with personality..." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Luana Monteiro grew up in Recife on the Northeastern coast of Brazil and spent weekends in the remote, dusty town of Camaragibe. It was here along the river and in the deep woods that she lived a life she describes as rich with, "Abundant superstition, stories of beasts and ghosts."
She now lives in Madison, Wisconsin where she writes from this deep well of memory. She recently received an MFA from the University of Wisconsin.
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