This beautiful collection of stories about the Brazilian hinterland was written in 1946 and presents an alien world, both in its morality and landscape. The mystery is accentuated by the lyrical detachment of the author. The tales are of honor, blood feuds, sorcery, old age, love and redemption and they are peopled with villagers, cattle herders and ranchers. Suffused with the ambience of place and slow time, they are also often intercepted by sudden violence. Each story has not only a different point of view but is also told in a different tone of voice. In The Return of the Prodigal Son, in which a man comes back from an outrageous spree in the city, one hears mainly his sly and sentimental conversation. The narrator in Mine Own People is a young man in love with his cousin and here the prose is set in short, lyrical passages. In Straw Spinners, a story encompassing a few hours, two old friends reveal many longstanding secrets to each other. And in the last tale the oxen speak. Largely through the wonderfully detailed descriptions of nature one realizes there is an omniscient observer and the life here is viewed through his understanding.