cover image Little Star of Bela Lua

Little Star of Bela Lua

Luana Monteiro, . . Delphinium, $22.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-1-883285-26-5

A novella and three short stories make up Monteiro's lyrical debut, set in provincial Brazil and imbued with miracle and magic. The charismatic title character of "Antonio De Juvita," a mama's boy and sure-bet mayoral candidate, abandons his political career for the military after his opponent blames him for the fire that destroyed his pharmacy. In "Curado," a middle-aged doctor risks his wife's wrath to care for a defecating turkey (a gift from a patient), sworn to protect all living creatures ever since he amazingly survived a venomous snake bite as a youth. In "The Whirling Dove," oversexed Cloé indulges in compulsive infidelity until she finds God and develops "eyes or rather, heart, for one man" alone: Jesus. The title novella begins with a miraculous fish who cures the blind and the handicapped, and ends with Uriel, a 124-year-old man who drank the waters the fish inhabited and may be doomed to live forever. The colorful chaos of Brazilian streets, the mystical witnessings of believers and the energy of a passionate people enliven Monteiro's vibrant pages. (Aug.)