Brazil

Errol Lincoln Uys, Author Simon & Schuster $18.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-46028-0
Pulsing with vigor, this is a vast novel to tell the story of a vast country from the early 1490s, just before the arrival of the first Portuguese, to 1960, year of Brasilia's inauguration as the new capital. Violence, cruelty and greed are its predominant burthen (though lightened with flashes of romantic passion, pathos, heroism and high-minded idealism), as Uys depicts Brazil's evolution from colony to kingdom to empire to republic. The narrative encompasses the massacre and enslavement of the Indians; battles with rival Dutch colonists; all-out war with Paraguay; and the brutal crushing of rebellion. Lacing the tale together are two families: the Cavalcantis, planters and slave owners, with here and there a priest or administrator; and, representing another fundamental social stratum, the da Silvas, prospectors, adventurers, seekers of El Dorado. The principal characters, both real and imaginary, are hard to forget. Among them: the great Indian warrior Aruana; Secundus Proot, a Dutch artist who wanders into the interior to paint Indians; Black Peter, a freed African slave who takes murderous revenge on his persecutors; Francisco Lopez, doomed and gallant president of Paraguay; Anthony the Counselor, visionary rebel. Uys recreates history almost entirely ""at ground level,'' even more densely than Michener, through the eyes and actions of an awesome cast of characters. Literary Guild alternate. (April)
Reviewed on: 08/04/1987
Release date: 08/01/1987
Paperback - 776 pages - 978-0-916562-51-9
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