Brazil by John Updike

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Synopsis

In the dream-Brazil of John Updike’s imagining, almost anything is possible if you are young and in love. When Tristão Raposo, a black nineteen-year-old from the Rio slums, and Isabel Leme, an eighteen-year-old upper-class white girl, meet on Copacabana Beach, their flight from family and into marriage takes them to the farthest reaches of Brazil’s phantasmagoric western frontier. Privation, violence, captivity, and reversals of fortune afflict them, yet this latter-day Tristan and Iseult cling to the faith that each is the other’s fate for life. Spanning twenty-two years, from the sixties through the eighties, Brazil surprises with its celebration of passion, loyalty, romance, and New World innocence.
 

About John Updike

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John Updike was born in Shillington, Pennsylvania, in 1932. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954 and spent a year in Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of The New Yorker. His novels have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Foundation Award, and the William Dean Howells Medal. In 2007 he received the Gold Medal for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. John Updike died in January 2009.
 
Published June 5, 2012 by Random House. 278 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Brazil

Kirkus Reviews

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Isabel will even resort to the help of magic to have Tristo returned to her, at the price of a shaman-induced change in respective skin-colors for them both--Updike's woolliest turn in a story fanciful with twists and turns, touristy aperáus, and sexual philosophy.

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The New York Times

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TRISTAO and Isabel, the hero and heroine of John Updike's 16th novel, "Brazil," never quite realize the epic valor of their namesakes of medieval legend and Wagnerian drama.

Feb 06 1994 | Read Full Review of Brazil

Publishers Weekly

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Updike's Tristan-and-Isolde tale of doomed lovers from opposite ends of Brazil's social stratum was a PW bestseller.

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Publishers Weekly

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Despite its emphasis on the enobling qualities of true love, this is a dark book that speaks of ``a steady decay from birth to death.'' Even Updike's language is different here: the intellectual legerdemain, the shimmering metaphors and caustic humor are largely abandoned for a straightforward na...

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Entertainment Weekly

Since this is an Updike story, it's not long before the infatuated couple have run off to industrial Sao Paulo and rented a room at a hot-pillow joint named the Hotel Amour, and Isabel has begun watching porn on the pay channel and inviting the bellhop in for threesomes.

Feb 04 1994 | Read Full Review of Brazil

The Independent

It is as if, within the context of a very sophisticatedly 'primitive' novel, Updike had set out to emulate - or perhaps to pastiche - the 'wise woman' persona of writers such as Margaret Atwood.

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The Independent

Isabel is led back to the cossetted prison of home, but after two years at university in Brasilia she is reunited one day with Tristao, and again they escape, this time to the jungly embrace of Brazil's wild west.

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https://www.spiritualityandpractice.com

Reviews Philosophy About Our Affiliates Books & Audios Recently Reviewed In the beginning of this story, Tristao, a black 19-year-old street survivor, spots Isabel, a beautiful and rich white girl, on a beach in Rio de Janeiro.

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