Fiction Map of the World- Brazil

by Travelbag on 12 February 2015, 15:02PM

Brazil is currently experiencing one of its busiest periods of tourism in its history. 2014 saw the largest country in South America be overloaded with the globe’s football fans as the FIFA World Cup descended and 2016 will see the country host the next Olympic. With so much to see and do, from visiting Christ The Redeemer to taking in the sun on the renowned Copacabana beach, this this is a place not be missed!

Known for it’s vibrancy, samba soccer skills and rich culture we will help you to truly immerse and prepare yourself for a holiday to Brazil. So what better way to do that than by reading and listening to the country’s most iconic works?

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Essential Holiday Reading
For holiday reading in Brazil we’re going to recommend the 1997 semi-autobiographical novel written by Paulo Lins to make you really appreciate how far the country has come. The book titled ‘City of God’ is set in the notorious Rio slum, or Favelas, known as Cidade de Deus where Lins grew up. The novel, which took him ten years to complete, follows the lives of three boys from their innocent childhood in the 1960s to the gang wars of the 1980s. It stunningly recreates Brazil’s past undertones in depicting the slum world. Based on his own experiences and years of research, Lins novel is highly regarded as one of the greatest contemporary works of Brazilian literature. The feature film, which was created of the back of this enthralling story, went on to be nominated for four Oscars proving just how gripping this tale is. 

Notable Brazilian Books
The remarkable author Jorge Amado wrote a fascinating novel titled ‘The Violent Land’ that is a must-read. It’s a story about the 1920’s Cacao wars in northeast Brazil that reveals a transfixing tale of murder, romance and greed. The novel follows a fierce battle for power and wealth between two rival families and is widely regarded as Amado’s greatest work. If you’re after something a little more on the softer side then why not try Peter Robb’s ‘A Death in Brazil’. This compelling read describes the pleasures of the country’s food, music, literature and landscape. Placing you deep within the heart of Brazil, this travel-writing piece takes you on a journey through its literary works, wealth, poverty, crime and its staggering beauty. 

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Notable Brazilian Authors
Brazilian literature is fused with influences from its vast mixture of settlers. Authors since the 16th century have told stories of the country diverse influences and experiences that derived from a combination of Portuguese and European explores, African slaves and Native Americans. 

These three authors have all greatly affected the country’s history. If you want to go back to the beginning, Macho de Assis, a founding figure in the country’s literature is your place to start. This novelist known for his contribution to a more open society in Brazil wrote his best work, ‘Epitaph of a Small Winner’ in 1881. Second on the list is author Jorge Amado whose novels have been translated into 49 Languages. It was his vivid portrayal of his fellow countrymen and women that struck a chord with all demographics within Brazil, creating lively and colourful characters that readers loved. He was quoted in reflection of his work to say ‘if it has any worth, it is that it truly reflects the Brazilian people." If you prefer more contemporary authors then Adriana Lisboa would be more suitable. Her novels touch on Brazilians moving in cultures and languages. She illustrates what it’s like to travel and interact in new cultures offering a new perspective on her home country’s history and beliefs. 

Notable Brazilian Films
Brazil’s film industry is a rollercoaster tale of up and downs that ranges back to its first ever feature film screening in the early 1900’s titled ‘The Stranglers’ by Antonio Leal. With decades of low budgets, censorship and government control over artistic production there had been an ongoing battle between filmmakers within the country until it’s reformation in the mid 1990s. The film released in 1995, ‘Retomada’, was described as Brazil’s cinematic rebirth which has paved way for arguable the country’s best movies. The ‘City of God’ film adaption in 2002 of the Paulo Lins book of the same name is widely regarded as the country’s most popular film. The most successful film in Brazilian history from a commercial perspective was the Elite Squad sequal, ‘Tropa De Elite 2’, an intense action picture that follows a security officer battling with political disputes and paramilitary groups. 1998’s ‘Central Station’ is a Golden Globe winner and Academy Award nominee which tells the tale of former schoolteacher’s journey helping a young boy find his long lost father.

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Essential Holiday Listening
Recommending an artist is always a tricky task with music being such a personal and subjective topic but there is one artist who encaptures Brazil perfectly. Just as England loves The Beatles, Brazil love Maris Monte. You may recognise her from her performance at the London 2012 Olympic closing game ceremony, where she performed for the hand over to Rio 2016. Having sold over 10 million albums worldwide, Monte, born in Rio de Janeiro has combined her operatic and samba childhood influences to make pop rock hits since 1989. With her impressive discography spanning over the last 25 years, it is no wonder why she is considered as the best Brazilian singer of her generation. If you’re looking for a place to start your cultural voyage then we’d suggest her most successful album, 2002’s ‘Memorias, Cronicas, e Declaracoes de Amor’. Her 2014 live album, ‘Verdade Uma Ilusao’ was Grammy nominated. 

Notable Brazilian Musicians
Taking influences again from its fusion of European and African cultures, Brazil has developed some unique music such as Bossa nova, Choro and its most iconic, Samba. If you want modern music then look no further than Chico Buarque de Hollanda who is a leading voice in Brazilian popular music. Similar to Chico is arguably one of the all time greats, Antonio Carlos Jobim. Known for his gifted ability across several instruments, Jobim is said to have shaped the modern music in Brazil as we know it.

If you want to truly delve into Brazilian musical, there are some pioneers in the development and creation of the nation’s musical genres that you have to add to your holiday playlist. Jorge Ben for their Samba rock creation, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil for their tropicalia movement influence and the Latin pop Grammy Award winning sensation Roberto Carlos Braga.

Click here to read more about Brazil.


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