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The New York TimesAs a songwriter [Buarque] tends toward lilting compositions that draw on bossa nova and samba, while as a novelist he is a master at generating discomfort, and in Spilt Milk he confronts the themes that make Brazil squirm, from the stain of slavery to the inferiority complex the country has historically felt when it compares itself to Europe…Mr. Buarque once remarked that when an idea comes to him, it "can serve just as well for a 200-page novel as for a song with 15 couplets," and Spilt Milk is in fact derived from a song of his released in 1987. That song, Old Francisco, was sung from the point of view of an elderly freed slave looking back on the sorrows and hardships of his life, whereas Spilt Milk, though similarly pensive, shifts the focus to his oppressors. But both are lyrical tales of regret and failing remembrance that highlight Mr. Buarque's gift for narrative and the telling detail.