DIAMOND RIVER by Sadio Garavini di Turno


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This is a sad, glittering, magnetic book, in a nervously beautiful translation from the Italian by Peter Green. An autobiography, the thirty-carat narrative follows a world adventurer turned fortune hunter through his solo discovery of a reat diamond bed in the heart of hell, the untracked upper reaches of the Amazon Venezuela. Here the natives use poisoned spears and darts and hate the white man. He is adopted by the Taurepan tribe, allotted three wives (12, 8, and one not so young"") and achieves several affecting friendships with tribesmen. Hell is a little piece of heaven. Then his favorite, twelve year old Lolomai, is lost before his eyes to a frenzied mother crocodile. Civilization arrives soon after in a wave of scum: killers, homosexual outcasts, prostitutes, rum and federal troops. The deterioration of the tribe is so pathetic, and civilization so ugly, that the reader is deeply moved when the natives finally decide to leave their homeland and search for a new and better life... In prose etched with a diamond stylus, the author presents an electrical and horripilating narrative where every next sentence hides a killer spider that can hop ton yards. At the end, the author himself stands aghast at the amount of blood on his hands. Bloody or not, they are the hands of a born writer with a bright, bitter tale to tell.

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World