Synopses & Reviews
The searing novel on which the internationally acclaimed hit film was based, City of God is a gritty, gorgeous tour de force from one of Brazils most notorious slums. Cidade de Deus: a place where the streets are awash with narcotics, where violence can erupt at any moment over drugs, money, and lovebut also a place where the samba beat rocks till dawn, where the women are the most beautiful on earth, and where one young man wants to escape his background and become a photographer. When City of God erupted on screens worldwide, it became one of the most critically and commercially successful foreign films of recent years. But few were aware of the story behind the film. Written by Paulo Lins, who grew up in the favela (shantytown) Cidade de Deus in Rio e Janeiro and who spent years researching its gang history, City of God began life as a coruscating, harrowing novelistic account of twenty years in the illicit pursuits of the youth gangs born from the favela. Now available in English for the first time, City of God is a raw, powerful portrait of the countless millions of poor people all over the world.
"Lins's 1997 fiction debut the source of the 2002 film published in English for the first time chronicles two generations over three decades in the infamous Rio de Janeiro City of God, 'a neo-slum of concrete, brimming dealer-doorways, sinister-silences and cries of despair.' From the slum's creation in the early 1960s for flood victims, through the rise of disco and cocaine in the 1970s, to the horrific gang wars of the 1980s, Lins traces the rise and fall of myriad, often teenaged gangsters for whom guns, girls and drugs are the tools of power. While the film traces the divergent paths of two childhood friends, the novel rushes from vignette to vignette, with an ever-changing cast of characters with names like 'Good Life,' 'Beelzebub' and 'Hellraiser.' Years, and pages, pass in a haze of smoking, drinking, snorting lines of cocaine, dancing sambas, swearing and planning the next big score. Guns dispense justice; the price for disrespect, whether to a spouse, a friend or the favela, is torture or death. Lins, who grew up in the City, lets the horror speak for itself. He serves up a Scarface-like urban epic, bursting with encyclopedic, graphic descriptions of violence, punctuated with lyricism and longing." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Now available in English for the first time, "City of God" is the searing novel upon which the acclaimed hit film was based.