The Collector of Leftover Souls: Field Notes on Brazil’s Everyday Insurrections

Eliane Brum, trans. from the Portuguese by Diane Grosklaus Whitty. Graywolf, $16 trade paper (232p) ISBN 978-1-64445-005-5
In this vibrant collection of profiles, journalist Brum (One Two) explores the lives of people from communities across Brazil with empathy, transporting the reader to the forest of Amazonia, the favelas of São Paulo, illegal mining camps, and beyond. Living in the pages are midwives who travel by canoe, mothers of sons lost to poverty and the drug trade, men digging for gold with their bare hands—all people living unnoticed on the periphery of Brazilian society. Brum’s measured handling unites her subjects through a compassionate, even celebratory, tone. Typical is her treatment of the title story’s subject, an elderly trash collector—of “broken fans, cracked vases, abandoned toys”—and hoarder in the city of Porto Alegre, whom she describes as believing in a “world where neither things nor people are disposable” and serving as a “lone combatant against an army of 1.3 million people who toss out the remnants of their lives every day.” Throughout, Brum shows how her subjects, people excluded from wealth and privilege, resist in a myriad of ways the society determined to marginalize them. Thanks to her sensitive and adventurous reporting, this book is one full of people and stories not soon forgotten. Anja Saile, Anja Saile Literary Agency (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 06/11/2019
Release date: 10/15/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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