Memoirs Of A Militia Sergeant ($25.00; Dec.; 224 pp.; 0-19-511549-X): The lives of Portuguese-occupied Brazil's black slave populace and —poor free people— alike are memorably dramatized in this robust picaresque satire, first published serially in 1852. Almeida's engaging antihero Leonardo, who is—like his father and namesake—an inveterate prankster and rogue, is both a convincing incarnation of the life force and, in his subordinate adversary relation to the tyrannical police inspector Vidigal (another brilliant drawn character), a comic Jean Valjean who continuously frustrates his pursuer Javert. A rediscovered gem: both a historically important work and a terrific entertainment.
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