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I've started reading Jorge Amado's first novel, O País do Carnaval, published in 1931. It's a negative portrayal of the Brazilian intellectual class of the time, desperate to elevate Brazil but unable to concentrate their efforts in anything meaningul. So they loose themselves in cynicism and typical Nieztschean superman stuff. It's a desolate novel, full of characters so eager to be original and Modern that they wholly detach themselves from life and happiness.

The novel follows Paulo Rigger, who returns from Europe where he studied, in his involvement with other young men full of ideas but little strength to accomplish anything. There are many similarities with Eça de Queiroz' novels, which were equally critical of Portugal's intellectuals. Rigger feels European and yet he criticises Brazil for importing all ideas from abroad. He can't connect with Brazilian culture and loathes its lack of civilisation and yet slowly he acquires its habits. He's looking for happiness, which shifts between leading a dissolute life or settling down with a wife. I can't help thinking he suffers from too much philosophy.

I'm very engrossed in the book and anxious to see where it goes. I've got more novels by Amado lined up after this one.
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Jorge Amado · Latin American writers