I was born in Shanghai, China, exiled by the commies in 1952, went to Italy with my family. After five years we emigrated to the U.S. Ten years after that, I moved to Brazil with my husband, Renato. Back in California in 1980, I began writing. I have five novels: The Year of the Rat, Journey from Shanghai, Stone of Heaven, The Snake Woman of Ipanema, A Rare Passion; and two story/essay collections, Pastiche: Stories and Such and Farrago: More Stories. Eight short stories and essays earned first-place awards. One story, "Cicadas," was nominated for the 2013 Pushcart Prize.
The Snake Woman Of Ipanemaby Lucille Bellucci
When Maggie Dalton finds a slaughtered black cockerel on her car, Tonia, her maid, says "Someone means you harm." Jon Dalton's affair with a Brazilian woman is skewing Maggie's soul. She broods on the occult. Beneath the surface of Rio de Janeiro's good life runs the cult of spiritism, brought over 450 years ago by captive slaves from West Africa. Far from her
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When Maggie Dalton finds a slaughtered black cockerel on her car, Tonia, her maid, says "Someone means you harm." Jon Dalton's affair with a Brazilian woman is skewing Maggie's soul. She broods on the occult. Beneath the surface of Rio de Janeiro's good life runs the cult of spiritism, brought over 450 years ago by captive slaves from West Africa. Far from her Michigan home, Maggie learns of that Brazil when she seeks her answers from the priestess who rules the underworld. Only Tonia realizes where Maggie is headed. She is terrified, yet conscience compels her to follow. Through a torturous path, she tracks Maggie from Rio de Janeiro north to Salvador, the cradle of Brazilian spiritism. Maggie meets the healer, Cabral, revered by the hopeless, and Tonia does battle for Maggie's soul. The knife turns. The knife always turns.
- Lucille Bellucci
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- NOOK Book
- File size:
- 371 KB
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
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First impressions are a big deal and my first impression of this book was that it starts out slow. In some spots, the story line skips around choppily and left me confused as to what was occurring. After the rough start things begin to come together beautifully! I am glad I stuck it out and got to the meaty part of this novel! Please give this book a chance and stick it out the first chapter or two then the magic will happen! Happy Reading!
When I first started reading, the story seems a little slow. The story starts out talking about a mysterious woman doing a ceremonious dance then the story jumps to a couple (Jon and Maggie). Jon Dalton is an influential business man and is the representative of Cleaver & Fischer, Inc., engineers of worldwide renown. Jon and his wife Maggie has been married for ten years. Jon and Maggie like to attend parties to mingle with important people in business. The characters seem like the typical country club members that network with the elite for more opportunities. I feel that Maggie is a little insecure when it comes to Jon and other women. She thinks that her husband is cheating. Also, she had a few thoughts about how to punish him. Ipanema beach is a popular location for the locals in Brazil. I'm guess that has something to do with the name of the book. It seems that Maggie is in some kind of spiritual or black magic called "Exu". Moreover, Maggie is kidnapped and held for ransom. Ultimately, Maggie dies by falling in a snake pit. The story introduces a lot of interesting characters with their own motives. Also, there is a lot going on with this story.
As I turned each riveting page of 'The Snake Woman of Ipanema,' I couldn't help but think that, sooner or later, I would be seeing these same characters stretched across the wide screen of some movie theater. The plot is intense; its seat-gripping quality skillfully leads the reader through scenes in which Americans who are ill-prepared for life in exotic Brazil struggle to re-align their misplaced values. They tenuously hold on to their old realities while trying to meld with a culture they only vaguely comprehend. As a former resident of Rio de Janeiro, I felt the pages accurately depict the essence of Brazilian life. It is a believable tale as it winds its way from the hierarchy of the hedonistic wealthy elite to the pathetic multitude of struggling poor. Bellucci's 15-year residency in Brazil provides her with ample material to create a sensitive and insightful story about an American couple in Rio. They suddenly find that their lives have become tangled up with the bizarre practices of an idigenous brand of voodoo. For those readers who enjoy venturing far from the world of mundane Americana while tasting the forbidden fruit of the spirit world, this book is 'must' reading.
I was fascinated by the characters and the events in this book, and learned much about Brazil, the layers of its social structure and its underground religion. Mrs. Bellucci has written an exciting page-turner.
Lucille Bellucci has caught the contrast of the misery and wealth of Brazil with a style that is the equal of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's works on Colombia. Bellucci's 'The Snake Woman of Ipanema' opens the readers' eyes to the underworld of what foreigners mistakenly call 'voodoo,' the real subculture of 'candomble' and 'umbanda.' The gods and ceremonies of these cults that attract both poor and rich to their promises, and the mixture of African belief and Western religions, are laid bare for the enlightenment of the uninitiated. Bellucci cleverly weaves her tale of two struggling 'gringos' caught up in the luxury and misery of daily life of business and debauchery that characterizes Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, Bahia, until it reaches its startling denouement. Bellucci is a fresh new face on the international scene. Raised in China, educated in Italy and in the United States, and with 15 years in Brazil, she brings a deep empathy and pentrating understand of people who live outside the culture for which they were prepared. Her style is unusual, clear, quick and stimulating. Each chapter of this, her first novel, could stand alone as a short story unto itself. Indeed, Bellucci is known as a short story writer with many of her works published in specialty magazines. For both the uninitiated, and for those who have a Brazilian background, The Snake Woman of Ipanema will immerse the reader in the terrors and comforts of an alternate system of beliefs that is unique to the great South American country. A deep understanding will ensue of the dangers of trifling with these beliefs, and why even when most Brazilians may shrug them off as superstitions, none will degrade the practitioners as misguided. This is a great work.
This was a compelling read that I couldn't put down. I kept telling myself I would go to bed at the end of each chapter, but then just had to read the next one, and ended up reading all night. The plot was fascinating, surprising, emotional. The author has a real grasp on human nature and what propels people to act and react as they do. The setting (Brazil) was also very vivid, and I got to visit a place I'd never been and learn a lot about what life is like for many of the people there. Some have it good, many not so good, and most are superstitious, and the dynamics of this really move this story along. The best books are those that make me want to stop what I'm doing and go back and read more. To find out what what will happen and what each character is going to do next. Snake Woman did that for me.