Turbulence: A Novel

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A major literary event that has taken the international publishing community by storm: A best-seller in Brazil, where it received unprecedented critical acclaim, Turbulence has also been translated into French, German, Italian, and Spanish, among other major languages. Written by Chico Buarque, one of Brazil's premier singers and songwriters, the novel gives an intense, apocalyptic vision of the paranoia, lawlessness, and nightmare of urban life in Brazil - an extended metaphor for a country facing the menace of ...
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Overview

A major literary event that has taken the international publishing community by storm: A best-seller in Brazil, where it received unprecedented critical acclaim, Turbulence has also been translated into French, German, Italian, and Spanish, among other major languages. Written by Chico Buarque, one of Brazil's premier singers and songwriters, the novel gives an intense, apocalyptic vision of the paranoia, lawlessness, and nightmare of urban life in Brazil - an extended metaphor for a country facing the menace of a violent confrontation between the rich and the poor. Set in the decaying and poverty-stricken outskirts of an unnamed city, Turbulence consists of a series of highly charged cinematic scenes, viewed through the dazed eyes of a nameless narrator who moves between two different worlds. An aimless dropout, living on handouts from his rich sister, he belongs by birth to the privileged urban upper crust, with its luxury seaside apartments, its fabulous houses hidden behind electrified high walls and protected by machine-gun-toting security guards, its insanely expensive boutiques and shopping centers, its extravagant parties and trips to Europe. By chance he enters the "other Brazil," the world of marginal and petty criminals that infringes on the edges of privileged society and threatens to engulf it. Told with compelling urgency, rich in irony, alive with arresting imagery, Turbulence is a haunting novel of kidnapping, assault and robbery, rape, and murder.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Heavy on angst and ennui, this bleak, semisurreal first novel elliptically evokes the moral malaise of a Brazil rife with class tensions and ready to explode. The nameless narrator, a dropout who lives on handouts from his chic, wealthy sister, steals her jewels, acquires a suitcase full of marijuana and gets mixed up with thieves and squatters on his family's ramshackle farm, now overrun by a shantytown gang. A bigger robbery, rape and murder ensue as events spin out of his control. Buarque, a Brazilian singer-songwriter, sprinkles his dark parable with jarring images of societal breakdown--a dead man sitting on a bus amid indifferent passengers, a well-dressed stranger carrying an artificial leg--but neither characters nor plot are absorbing enough to sustain the reader's interest. The protagonist's sister, disdainful ex-wife and distant mother are generic figures, nondescript furniture in a somnambulistic mindscape; the narrative constantly gets sidetracked in imagined future scenarios. Bush's smooth translation faithfully conveys the novel's volatile, hothouse atmosphere. ( Feb. )
Library Journal
A black-sheep son in contemporary Brazil lives in limbo between the stylish, high-security world he has known and the seamy underworld he currently inhabits. And now he needs money. So he roams his anonymous city, pursuing old friends, his ex-wife, his wealthy sister and brother-in-law, and, of course, his mother. But he is disconnected from everything. Even Mother won't answer the phone. Desperate, he steals his sister's jewels, setting in motion a criminal chain reaction that ends with a suitcase full of marijuana, appropriate luggage for his last trip. Buarque's first novel aspires to social commentary but falls into a lifeless recitation of events. Nameless, poorly drawn characters make Turbulence read like a Hollywood ``treatment'' of urban violence in South America. Not recommended. Previewed as Disturbance in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/92.-- Paul E. Hutchison, Bellefonte, Pa.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679412649
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/26/1993
  • Edition description: 1st American ed
  • Pages: 176

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