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Hotel Brasil (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 18. März 2014

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“A wonderful classic mystery novel written to the best standards of the genre. Between layers of the investigation of an unsolvable crime and a display of suspicious characters, Betto slips in a view of the real Brazil, raw and bleeding.” Le Monde Diplomatique

“A fascinating kaleidoscope of contemporary Brazil.” Le Monde

“A roman noir, but above all a bitter sweet novel, Hotel Brasil plunges the reader into the heart of a Rio that feeds on its people” Metro

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Frei Betto: Frei Betto, born 1944, is a Brazilian writer, political activist, liberation theologian and Dominican friar. He was imprisoned for four years in the 1970s by the military dictatorship for smuggling people out of Brazil. In addition to work on eliminating hunger in Brazil, Frei Betto is involved in Brazilian politics. He worked for the government of President Lula da Silva as an advisor on prison policy and child hunger. This is his first novel.

Jethro Soutar: Jethro Soutar, born in Sheffield, lives in London and has recently published two works of non-fiction, 'Ronaldinho: Football's Flamboyant Maestro' and a part biography, part chronicle of a film movement, entitled 'Gael García Bernal and the Latin American New Wave', published in July 2008. Soutar translated Needle in a Haystack by Ernesto Mallo for Bitter Lemon Press.


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4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Terrific Prose Introducing The Reader To Rio 13. März 2014
Von Dave Wilde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Frei Betto (aka Carlos Alberto Christo) is a Brazilian writer, political activist, and a Dominican friar. He has an interesting biography, which includes being imprisoned for four years as a political prisoner by a dictatorship in Brazil starting in 1969 for smuggling ten people out of Brazil. He was involved in "liberation theology" and social justice and visited with Fidel Castro and Mikhail Gorbachev. Betto's book on his interviews with Castro became a bestseller in the 1980's. Betto again met with Castro in February 2014.

Hotel Brasil is Betto's first English-translated book although he has previously published dozens books. The translation is by Jethro Soutar and the translated book is well-done, conveying Betto's prose in a rich way. It is a murder mystery, subtitled the mystery of the severed heads and involves a rundown guesthouse or residential hotel in Rio de Janiero where one of the residents is found murdered, his head severed off his body, and his eyeballs stolen. The police inspector (Del Bosco) then, as in a classic whodoneit mystery, interviews each of the residents of the hotel, positing possible motives for the murder.

The story is more about the characters in the hotel and they are all characters. In particular, it is about a reporter and editor named Candid0, who is a resident of the hotel and who also counsels the street youth of Rio, attempting to protect them from police abuses, and who ends up sheltering a twelve-year old streetgirl who escaped from juvenile detention house. Candido roams the city on his motorbike, especially at night. By day, Candido read his numerous books and dreamed.

The story does document numerous police abuses and the fact that the streets of Rio are swarming with abandoned or runaway youths in the various favalas. The book legitimately has a South American feel and is more poetic than hardboiled with a feel that is more Gabriel Garcia Marquez than Raymond Chandler or even Agatha Christie.

The story begins with the discovery of the severed head: "He'd seen it out of the corner of his eye, without meaning to see it. Now he couldn't believe what he saw: a head lying dumped on the floor." The victim was Seu Marcal, and older man who dealt in gemstones and lived in the hotel. Marcal had the "honey-tongued tone of a man whose business it was to make money while letting customers think they were getting a bargain."

Other residents of the hotel included Madame Larencia, who had "hair splashed with dye" and "diligently worked the nightclubs, the boates, and the cabares, meeting clients and taking orders." She essentially provided clients with girls to suit the client's tastes. She was "a cafetina, a bawd, a pimp." She would often wear "an enormous blonde wig and multicoloured bangles that dangled from her arms into her food."

Another resident was Rosaura Dorotea dos Santos whose "hair was immaculately combed, her nails were painted salmon pink and her skin was saturated in creams." She had moved to Rio to break into television and become a telenovela star. She decorated her walls with photographs of actors and spent hours in front of her mirror, "playing the roles of imaginary characters."

Another resident was Diamante Negro, a "transformista," meaning a transvestite who imitated singers in late-night cabaret shows. He tells the inspector that it must have been a pervert who chopped off the man's head because only a pervert would do that.

Rui Pacheco also lived in the hotel. "With his short curly hair, tortoise shell glasses, clipped moustache and hooked nose, Pacheco looked like a man without a sense of humor." He was involved in politics and had to flee the country before the dictatorship ended and amnesty granted to all exiles. Now, although dwelling in a rundown hotel, he was involved in politics and went to functions with the Governor.

Jorge Maldonaldo was the hotel caretaker. He was the jack of all trades. He had bright green eyes, a face full of pockmarks, and long ponytail. Dona Dio, who ran the hotel, treated him like a serf.

Marcelo Braga was a journalist end editor. He loved making headlines, and presenting stories. He went for a drink every day after work, going to whatever was the latest watering hole among hacks and there he would deliver alcohol-fueled rants about sports writing.

It is a rich, lush book filled with prose that gives the reader a flavor of Rio de Janiero, the crime, the corruption, the poverty, the abuses heaped upon the street children who were ever-present. It tells the story of numerous characters and their motivations. The focus is on Candido, although he does not narrate the story. The crime story, though, is the background for this glimpse of Brazilian life.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Crime fiction needs more Frei Betto. A grisly murder ... 29. Oktober 2014
Von Sandy Harcourt - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Crime fiction needs more Frei Betto. A grisly murder mystery, yet light-hearted, even amusing. I never know whodidit in whodunnits, but the denouement surprised me. It still surprises me. I have no idea why the murderer murdered, let alone why they murdered so gruesomely. Perhaps my puzzlement lies in the nature of the characters in the Rio de Janeiro boarding house that is the story’s setting - a group of eccentrics worthy of a Gabriel Márquez novel.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Wow 18. März 2014
Von Spike - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
After uncharacteristically not finishing two rather formulaic detective novels, I picked this up in kindle version from my local library. I was enhanced from the start. So many soon plots, such great character development, and a lot of true humor. My only complaint is that the translation sometimes seems awkward.
1 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen fascinating Brazilian police procedural 19. März 2014
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Hotel Brasil
Frei Betto; Jethro Soutar (translator)
Bitter Lemon, Mar 18 2014, $14.95
ISBN 9781908524270

In Rio de Janeiro, the rundown Hotel Brasil caters to singles; at least that is what proprietor Dona Dinó claims. The regulars residing in this dump include wannabe telenovela actress Rosaura dos Santos; political hack Rui Pacheco; reporter Marcelo Braga; transformed due to age restrictions from hooking to pimping Madame Larência; transformista nightclub entertainer Diamante Negro; former professor and present collaborator with anthropologist Mônica Kundali on a book (though he craves a different collaboration) Cândido Oliviera; and gemstone seller Seu Marçal.

The family like camaraderie shatters when someone decapitates Marçal before removing his eyes. Delagacia da Lapa Police Chief Delegado Olinto Del Bosco sarcastically interrogates and accuses the owner, the residents and caretaker Jorge Maldonado as the murderer. Del Bosco arrests only Maldonado as the easiest for him to get away with a brutal beat down until he breaks and confesses.

Although a Brazilian police procedural, Hotel Brasil reads more like a fascinating character study of a different side of Rio than typically depicted. The ensemble cast is solid with their background cleverly darkly satirizing stereotypes and as a group lampooning the Agatha Christie country house mystery subgenre in a South American urban setting. Readers who appreciate something different in their whodunits will enjoy this entertaining suspense.

Harriet Klausner
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