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Fordlandia: A Novel Paperback – October 5, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (October 5, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312283997
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312283995
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,500,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Horacio is one man among many who comes to Fordlandia, the Brazilian rubber plantation that Henry Ford established in 1929, in order to be rid of past mistakes in this brooding, imaginative first novel by Argentinian writer Sguiglia. In the immutable Amazon, where Horacio is employed as the chief of personnel, the protagonist's destiny begins to take shape as he and his fellow administrators battle vainly with the Brazilian jungle to establish civilization and capitalism. Horacio is an opportunist with morals, a solitary adventurer and traveler at heart who needs others in order to advance; he is above all a man on a quest for his destiny and identity. His misadventures and Sguiglia's ardent storytelling recall the works of Joseph Conrad, Alejo Carpentier and Alvaro Mutis. Challenging notions of civilization, most notably the intrusive and arrogant operations of capitalism against nature, the novel explores Fordlandia's effects on individual freedom and conformity as Horacio journeys into the jungle to recruit native workers, clashes with his misfit colleagues, battles a fungus that threatens the rubber trees and courts Caroline, the plantation's resident sociologist. In a momentous episode, Horacio suffers a near-death experience and is reborn a hero. Cleverly, Sguiglia has kept Horacio's name from the reader up until this point. As his identity is formed, his name is finally uttered by none other than Henry Ford himself. Horacio withholds vital information from the reader as easily as he withholds and manipulates information from Ford executives and jungle natives in order to serve his needs. His silences suit the narrative mood, but the mysteries of his character are so well guarded that the novel ends in deliberate opacity. Nevertheless, this is a darkly satisfying work, well served by Duncan's translation, that seamlessly mixes history with fiction.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Shades of King Lear, Heart of Darkness, and Fitzcarraldo hang over this exciting new work of fiction by Argentine Sguiglia. Horacio, who has a shadowy past and is also known as "El Argentino" and "Mi Blanco," takes a vaguely outlined job recruiting workers for Henry Ford's chimerical endeavor to create an empire in the Amazon that will supply tire-rubber for his car factories. Horacio must confront malaria, hostile indigenes, corrupt ministers, and self-interested colleagues in a despairing attempt to find personal and professional peace. The effort is doomed, the environment unforgiving, and Horacio often loses his way before a fungus destroys the multi-million-dollar investment. Meanwhile, Ford himself, first in Michigan and then on a visit to Fordlandia, begins to make unrealistic assumptions about his own power and influence, acting like a martinet as he slowly ages and loses control of his empire. Sguiglia's images of the jungle and the men and women in it are extraordinarily vivid, and this brilliant natural imagery is linked to colossal degradation, making for a taut, exciting read. Despite Duncan's fluid translation, Sguiglia is not quite up to Joseph Conrad's elegant style, yet he has fashioned a good yarn about men confronting both internal and external demons. Highly recommended.DHarold Augenbraum, Mercantile Lib., New York
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By "frenchy78" on August 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you find bold business endeavors fascinating, and you're intrigued by the colossal mistakes of one of the 20th century's greatest entrepreneur, then I must recommend this book. FORDLANDIA is based on the true story of Henry Ford's ill-conceived and catastrophic decision to start his own rubber plantation in the jungles of Brazil. This has been the most fascinating and original novel I have read in a long time. The author, Eduardo Sguiglia, has a very clear and crisp form of writing that immerses you in a very different culture. I'm sure you'll enjoy this novel as well as learn plenty about the mistakes one of our greatest businessmen.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This historical novel is fascinating on a lot of levels, but especially for anyone interested in business. It can be read as a cautionary tale of corporate hubris, of ego mania, and the business failure to which that can lead. Such an original book. Couldn't put it down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Thyret on December 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I very much enjoyed this fiction book of this particular work/housing situation in the Amazon jungle. I first read a non-fiction about it and found this equally fascinating.
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