City of God by Paulo Lins
A Novel

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The searing novel on which the internationally acclaimed hit film was based, City of God is a gritty, gorgeous tour de force from one of Brazil’s most notorious slums. Cidade de Deus: a place where the streets are awash with narcotics, where violence can erupt at any moment over drugs, money, and love—but also a place where the samba beat rocks till dawn, where the women are the most beautiful on earth, and where one young man wants to escape his background and become a photographer. When City of God erupted on screens worldwide, it became one of the most critically and commercially successful foreign films of recent years. But few were aware of the story behind the film. Written by Paulo Lins, who grew up in the favela (shantytown) Cidade de Deus in Rio e Janeiro and who spent years researching its gang history, City of God began life as a coruscating, harrowing novelistic account of twenty years in the illicit pursuits of the youth gangs born from the favela. Now available in English for the first time, City of God is a raw, powerful portrait of the countless millions of poor people all over the world.

About Paulo Lins

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Alison Entrekin has translated a number of works by Brazilian and Portuguese authors into English, including "City of God" by Paulo Lins and "Budapest" by Chico Buarque.
Published December 1, 2007 by Grove Press, Black Cat. 500 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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When Hellraiser is wasted by Detective Beelzebub, Pipsqueak, now self-dubbed Tiny, and his best friend Sparrow take control of the City’s economic lifeblood, its drug dens.

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Publishers Weekly

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Lins's 1997 fiction debut—the source of the 2002 film published in English for the first time—chronicles two generations over three decades in the infamous Rio de Janeiro City of God, "a neo-slum of concrete, brimming dealer-doorways, sinister-silences and cries of despair."

Aug 07 2006 | Read Full Review of City of God: A Novel

AV Club

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Truck stick-ups lead to brothel hold-ups that lead to murder that leads to coke dealing that leads to street brawls with armies of gun-toting 11-year-olds.

Jan 27 2003 | Read Full Review of City of God: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

(In a singularly sickening scene, an anguished kid with a gun plays an anguished kid with a gun inaugurated into gang killing culture, and it's impossible to distinguish artifice from reality.) But there's also an unnerving whiff of sexy grooviness and gangsta-wise equanimity coming off the image...

Jan 15 2003 | Read Full Review of City of God: A Novel

Chicago Tribune

The dominant force is a young psychopath, named Li'l Dice as a kid (Douglas Silva) and redubbed Li'l Ze (Leandro Firmino da Hora) when he becomes the drug lord who rules the City of God in the '70s.

Jan 23 2003 | Read Full Review of City of God: A Novel


GRITTY 'CITY': Adapted from the Paulo Lins novel, the Fernando Meirelles-helmed 'City of God' is a bruising look at Rio violence.

May 19 2002 | Read Full Review of City of God: A Novel

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