Friday, March 02, 2018

Brazil: The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao, by Martha Batalha

Crow Blue, the first book I read from a Brazilian author, had large parts set out of the country. And when Martha Batalha's newly translated book appeared in our library, it looked intriguing, so I thought I would give it a go.

Euridice Gusmao and her elder sister Guida are two very different people, growing up in Rio de Janeiro in the 1940s, the daughters of Portuguese immigrant merchants. Guida reads womens magazines and styles her sister's hair. Euridice is a talented musician and dreams of fame and fortune. One day Guida disappears. Euridice gives up her ambitions to marry and live the conventional life of a wife and mother. But Euridice is bored. The book tells the story of the various projects Euridice adpots to inject some interest into her humdrum life. And what happens when Guida turns up again with her young son? (But without her husband).

I found the book entertaining and amusing. The reader cannot but feel sympathetic towards the spirited Euridice, and wish that she had lived in more enlightened times, when she might have better fulfilled her potential. For although all her schemes occupy her for a time, ultimately she does not have the means to carry any through to its completion. Perhaps her final project, writing a book, will have a better outcome? We are left to wonder...

The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao was translated from the Portuguese by Eric M B Becker and published by Oneworld Publications in 2017.

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