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The Republic Of Dreams by Nelida Pinon. New York. 1989. Knopf. 663 pages. July 1989. hardcover. 0394555252. Jacket illustration by Steven Rydberg. Jacket design by Carol Devine Carson. Translated from the Portuguese by Helen Lane. (original title: Republica dos sonhos, 1984 - Livraria Francisco Alves Editora S/A, Rio de Janeiro).

 

0394555252FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   This huge, mesmeric novel marks the debut in English of one of the most brilliant and admired of today’s Latin American writers. It is a novel that brings before the reader four generations of a family torn between its Spanish past and its Brazilian present. It is a revelation of the complexities and astonishments not only of family life but of Brazil itself - a revelation also of the power of storytelling and the nature of dreaming. As the novel opens, the matriarch Eulália has begun her final task - the task of dying. Long, long ago, when she first came to Brazil from Spain, a young bride with her young and already formidable, iron-willed husband, Madruga, they brought with them the passion, inspired by Grandfather Xan, for making memories into tales -tales told as sustenance, proof, and hallmark, tales told as protection against the killing rush of time. Now, as both Eulália and her era near their end, that tradition achieves its most poignant flowering-in a burst of family lore, recrimination, and recollected dreams, as the clan, gathered at Eulália’s side, relives the past and vies for the future. Madruga - founder of the family in Brazil - is the central figure not only of his own stories but of almost everyone else’s, as he is of their lives. His reminiscences have the sweep and drama of history. His authority and - equally despotic - his love have shaped the lives of all his five children. His granddaughter Breta, whom he has chosen as heir to his greatest treasure-his memory-sees the family as ‘stubbornly programming the life of its members’ so as to justify Madruga’s desertion, decades before, of their ancestral Spain. His fellow émigré Venâncio-the historian, the dreamer (in counterpoint to Madruga’s colonizer- industrialist)-feels unfit to live in the reality forged by men like his old friend. Through the recollections- unfolding in layers, moving backward and forward across the century - of Madruga and those connected to him by blood or circumstances, a stunning dynastic drama is played out. At the same time, Nélida Piñon’s magnificent novel invites us to experience each of its two realms - the new world of Brazil, infatuated with what is to come while longing for what is lost, and the interior world of fantasy, remembrance, and emotion in which we all live - as a republic of dreams.

 

 

Pinon NelidaNélida Piñon (born May 3, 1937) is a Brazilian writer. Born in Rio de Janeiro of Galician immigrants. Her first novel was Guia-Mapa de Gabriel Arcanjo (The Guidebook of Archangel Gabriel), written in 1961, it concerns a protagonist discussing Christian doctrine with her guardian angel. In the 1970s she became noted for erotic novels A casa de paixão (The House of Passion) and A força do destino (The Force of Destiny), written in 1977. In 1984 she perhaps had her greatest success with A Republica dos Sonhos, English translation The Republic of Dreams. The work involves generations of a family from Galicia who emigrated to Brazil. This relates to her own family's experience. She is a former President of Academia Brasileira de Letras (Brazilian Academy of Letters).

 

 

 

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