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Brasyl Hardcover – May 1, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
"At first capoeira had been another wave on the zeitgeist upon which Marcelina Hoffman surfed, driven by the perpetual, vampiric hunger for fresh cool."
If you don't find this groan-worthy, then perhaps this book is for you. The overwritten prose isn't my main complaint, though. Once you remove the meandering descriptions and the abundance of Portuguese, there's very little actual substance in many of the scenes, making the events seem disjointed, arbitrary, and often downright boring.
I suspect if you read it quickly, you'll like it better. Let horribly mixed metaphors slide right by. If events seem disjointed, keep moving on--you didn't miss anything; rereading sections will only confirm this and frustrate you.
With River of Gods, Ian McDonald raised the bar rather high, and I was wondering if the author could come up with something as good. It never occurred to me that McDonald could write a better novel. And yet, somehow, he did!
Brasyl is a mesmerizing ensemble of three different tales. On takes place in Rio de Janeiro in 2006, as an ambitious reality tv producer finds herself in the middle of a conflict that could unravel reality itself. The second story takes place in Sao Paulo in 2032, as a man is thrust into the dangerous universe of quantum computing and he'll never be the same again. The third storyline occurs in Brazil in 1732, as a Jesuit Father is sent to bring back a rogue priest to face the justice of the religious order.
I was astonished to see the tale unfold, to see how McDonald yet again captures the essence of a country and its people and weaves it in a myriad of ways throughout the novel. The author paints a vivid picture of South America's largest country, depicting the past, the present, and the possible future of Brazil in a manner that makes everything come alive as you read on. Every plotline is tied to the others. Indeed, everything is linked together across time and the fabric of reality, thanks to quantum physics and the multiverse that surrounds our existence.
The worldbuilding is "top notch." Ian McDonald deserves kudos for his brilliant depiction of Brazil during three different epochs. As always, the author's eye for exquisite details adds another dimension to a book that's already head and shoulder above the competition.
Of the three main characters (one for each era), Father Luis Quinn steals the show.Read more ›
I tried, I swear I tried... It's unreadable. The prose is too fractured and the Portuguese terms are imprecise and annoying. Maybe his idea was to impress his friends with all his brazilian pop-culture, but all he managed to do was to use wrong terms and awkward dialogues, with so many misspelled words I wonder if it's so hard to ask a native about them, or just, you know, google them.
I couldn't finish two chapters, as I felt it was murdering two languages with only one strike. Next time, ask a native speaker before you print it, ok?
So when "Brasyl" came out..well, what's not to like? Brazil! McDonald! 134 gradations of skin color! Thongs! Quantum computers! Mad Jesuits!
To be honest, about 3/4 into the book I got the sickening feeling that the story was all very humdrum, reality-hopping Order, yawnsies. But then the whole thing sort of twisted 90 degrees and I was spellbound to the end again.
You can read plenty of potted notes about the actual events in the book elsewhere. One thing I have to comment on is the lavish use of Brazilian/Portuguese slang/words/expressions. At first it's a little disconcerting (he's full of WHAT? She went to the WHAT?) but after awhile you just get into the...rhythm (insert obligatory Brazilian samba reference here) of the thing and it's all good to the end.
Any book that can combine reality TV shows, quantum computers, Fitzcarraldo and "The Mission" and transvestite street hustlers is okay by me.
Give this man a Hugo. Now. Or the kitten dies.
Sao Paulo, 1730's, father Luis Quinn is on a Jesuit mission to bring a rogue priest back into faith by whatever means necessary, before this man can burn and kill his way through the jungle. Beyond treacherous waters, dangerous animals, unpredictable natives and poisonous everything, Quinn has no idea what to expect. And the reports of gigantic angels flying over the river followed by fiery death are especially disturbing.
Sao Paulo, right now. Marcelina Hoffman produces trash reality tv shows by day, and sleeps with a highly respected news reporter by night. Always chasing the new big thing to beat the competition, she has no idea when she is in over her head. While on a wild goose-chase for the story of her life, no amount of capoeira will save her from the a fast death by a q-blade, which cuts down to the quantum level.
Sao Paulo, thirty years from now. The population is higher, the stakes are higher, the technology is faster.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love Ian McDonald, he wrote one of my absolute favorite books in Evolution's Shore. I was really looking forward to reading this one but frankly I was disappointed. Read morePublished 1 month ago by kmarie
This was a complex read but the whole thing has really stuck with me. The characters and their surroundings are fleshed out with intricate aesthetics and the premise continues to... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
I read and enjoy a wide variety of Sci-Fi, but this book is terrible - hackneyed, derivative ideas and overwrought prose masquerading as "cool", utterly shallow. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Sholto Spradbury
Love the multiverse idea but when entire sections are rendered puzzling by the overuse of Brazilian words/slang, it becomes a chore, not a read. Read morePublished on May 10, 2014 by Brent Disbrow
I knew a lot of it was nonsense. In particular, his alternate timelines and his explanation of quantum theory; but I was more than willing to let it pass. Read morePublished on May 4, 2014 by Richard Dengrove
One sub-genre of book I love, is mixed language, or created language books. They are a tough challenging read. Read morePublished on May 3, 2014 by StonCuld
The concept is interesting; although the writing is a bit chaotic. But the main problem was that if a writer intends to use words from another language to illustrate the narrative,... Read morePublished on February 11, 2013 by Odnanref
This book educated me about the Brazilian martial art of Capoeira, enough to look up some fight videos on YouTube. Marcelina seemed very present-day in our particular universe. Read morePublished on September 8, 2012 by Craig K. Jackson
How does Ian McDonald do it. He delighted me with River of Gods. He surprised me with Cyberabad Days. This is an absolute beauty. Read morePublished on June 10, 2012 by Kaipa Kartik