A child of the slums, Ludwig “Ludo” Aparecido dos Santos is blessed by being taken in as an infant by supermarket magnate Ze Fischer Carnicelli, whose humanitarian wife, Rebecca, is so enchanted by the flavor of beans and rice on a visit to the Brazilian shantytown, or favela, that she hires Ludo’s mother as a cook. At 14, Ludo is adopted by his benefactor, who educates him in the States, then puts him in a pointless marketing job: “Alchemy exists; we call it branding, that’s all.” At 27, Ludo is in a decidedly unbrotherly intimate relationship with his adoptive sister, Melissa, when an assignment to pitch a new string of markets aimed at the poor residents of the favela leads to Ludo’s unearthing the truth about his heritage. Scudamore (The Amnesia Clinic, 2007) vividly portrays a city based on São Paulo, with its haves (living in a gated city) and its more populous have-nots, as he tells Ludo’s story in flashbacks and explores the issue of belonging. A Booker Prize nominee, this pulses with the vibrance—and occasional violence—of city life. --Michele Leber
"Fast-paced with ingenious and constant twists, brilliantly sharp... an unsettling and magically compelling read" Daily Mail "Merits the epithet Dickensian in a number of ways: In its generous anger at injustice and inequality, its attention to the lives of the poor, and its relish for food... But, as with Dickens, you don't read this for the plot, but for the power of the writing, the descriptions that fizz off the page, and the lust for life" Independent on Sunday "The writing is exemplary: you feel the hand of a natural at work" Guardian "Scudamore has the superb novelist's gift for giving vivid, sympathetic life to even second string characters, as well as his main ones; he also has the extraordinary power of summoning an entire brooding, smoggy city to life. Most of all, he has the ability to take on the heaviest of themes with the lightest and most compelling of touches, and leave you with an appetite for more" Daily Telegraph "A triumph" New Statesman
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