The Sun on My Head
The bestselling literary sensation from Brazil, The Sun on My Head is a work of great talent and heartbreaking sensitivity—a daring evocation of life in the favelas by a rising star firmly rooted in the community he portrays.
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THE BESTSELLING LITERARY SENSATION FROM BRAZIL
‘A blaze of heat, love and risk that will leave you reeling.’ DBC Pierre
‘An extraordinary writer.’ Misha Glenny
LONGLISTED FOR THE EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FIRST BOOK AWARD
A FINANCIAL TIMES AND SPECTATOR BOOK OF THE YEAR
Capturing the texture of life growing up in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, the stories in The Sun on My Head tell us of days lived under incredible heat – and under the shadow of a ubiquitous drug culture, the constant threat of the police, and the confines of poverty, violence and racism. They are also hauntingly beautiful portrayals of friendship, romance and momentary release from the oppressions of everyday life. The Sun on My Head is a debut work of great talent and sensitivity, a daring evocation of life in the favelas by a rising star rooted in the very community he portrays.
Martins’s stories evoke the languor and adrenaline of 13 lives . . . He cultivates a sense of place in the slums beyond their oft-chronicled violence and danger . . . These stories conjure the accumulation of experience that molds the young men, charting their synthesis of resignation and defiance.
[Martins] walks a difficult tightrope with consummate skill: it renders the everyday brutality of favela life with urgency and sensitivity, without ever lapsing into exploitative voyeurism or fetishistic sentimentalism . . . By flitting between domestic and public settings – between familial tenderness and arbitrary violence – Martins subtly foregrounds his protagonists’ loss of innocence, showing just how easily entire lives can go awry.
Tense, colourful snapshots of the life in these bustling communities, with their heavily armed drug gangs, police oppression and relentless poverty . . . [Martins] riddles his phrases with favela slang, freestyling into hazy existential monologues when his characters succeed in scoring marijuana – a constant preoccupation in the city he describes.
Geovani Martins’s The Sun on My Head flies us down to Rio, a city of random violence, constant danger, cruelty, police corruption and utter, breathtaking beauty … this sort-of-miraculous translation by Julia Sanches inhabits its author entirely, speaking with new, vibrant voices that feel like they can only have come direct from him.
Sanches’s extraordinary, reeling, translation is a patchwork creation, drawing from disparate Englishes – and Portuguese – to create an entirely new linguistic texture . . . Martins has written something masterful and kind, oral and literary, stretching time between the present and the generational. With beauty and generosity, Martins tells us about the world we live in.
Every so often a writer blasts a hole through a wall Geovani Martins is that writer. The Sun on My Head is a blaze of heat, love and risk that will leave you reeling.
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