SC-Into the Amazon

Augusta Dwyer, Author Random House (NY) $10 (250p) ISBN 978-0-87156-637-9
Dwyer conjures up the world of the rain forest without the benefit of the lush color photos that mark many books on the Amazon. A freelance journalist based in Brazil, she chronicles her journeys in the region with a reporter's eye for pithy details and a poetic touch (``The sky was bright, a pale blue airbrushed with luminous cirrus clouds, and the river was the color of milk chocolate, edged in white where it fanned out from the path of the boat''). But her writing grows somewhat dense and tedious when she tackles the politics of the Amazon, including the struggles of the late Chico Mendes and others to fend off developers. The book is as sprawling as the Amazon basin--one chapter focuses on legends about dolphins transforming themselves into amorous humans; another describes ailing, crying babies at a clinic; and yet another examines a dwindling Jewish community living in an Amazon town described as ``a combination of Miami and Calcutta.'' These shifts in subject matter and tone can be disorienting. But they also lend the book an air of the unexpected--the reader never knows what Dwyer will encounter at her next destination. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
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