THE DEVIL TO PAY IN THE BACKLANDS by Joao Giumaraes Rosa

THE DEVIL TO PAY IN THE BACKLANDS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This odd, wise, often beautiful and long novel is about bandit warfare in the Brazilian back country. Few outside facts or dates are given. The story, told in retrospect, by a retired outlaw who is wise in folk-sayings and in knowledge of people, becomes a sort of allegory of man's life which is a guerrilla war, filled with skirmishes, sudden death, love and knowledge, as well as the resignation of age and the final retreat into a belief in God's ways. The hero, son of a rich ranch owner, becomes a bandit out of friendship for another young bandit; he fights under several leaders and becomes a leader himself. Power destroys him; he believes it comes from the Devil. He becomes cruel and troubled, and his band is decimated in a final battle. Ranging in time with the old man's memories, the book brilliantly describes guerrilla battles, lawless but good men, plagues, journeys and a wild countryside that counterpoints the of men who find their wisdom in a hard, active life. It is a book with a distinctive flavor and vigor.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1963
Publisher: Knopf