Brazilian Women Speak: Contemporary Life Stories

Daphne Patai, Other Rutgers University Press $35 (398p) ISBN 978-0-8135-1300-3
Patai ( The Orwell Mystique: A Study in Male Ideology ), professor of women's studies and of Portuguese at the University of Massachusetts, interviewed Brazilian women in 1981 when that country's military dictatorship was in power. Here she gathers 20 diverse subjects ranging from Teresa, a black, 44-year-old laundress who says her job ``takes a lot out of you'' but ``is easier than working in the fields,'' and in a few words conveys much of her life's struggles, to Marta, a well-educated middle-class white who devotes abundant energy to complaining about her relationship with the maid. Having chosen a ``speaker-centered approach,'' Patai preserves the rhythm of each interviewee's voice, thus demonstrating the poetic qualities of these oral histories. Though of varied backgrounds, many of the women express similar concerns: the challenge of making their way in a patriarchal society; surviving a period of intense inflation and unemployment; raising children; obtaining adequate medical care. The introduction is thoughtful and exciting, exploring the implications of interviewing and storytelling, and alerting the reader to the beauty, the creative act, of speech. (October)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Paperback - 420 pages - 978-0-8135-1301-0
Show other formats
Discover what to read next