From Publishers Weekly
Originally published in Brazil in 1981, Scliar's novella tells, with a sharp eye but a glancing touch, the story of a boy at the mercy of terrible forces, who grows into a man similarly powerless, until he commits an act of violent defiance. German Max Schmidt, son of a brutish furrier and a gentle mother, is "morbidly sensitive," imagining escape to exotic climes. At university, Max befriends a troubled socialist and rekindles his affair with libidinous Frida, the fur store clerk who had deflowered him. But Frida is now married to a Nazi, who learns of the relationship, and Max must flee on a ship bound for Brazil. When the ship sinks-sabotaged by its evil captain and the owner of the menagerie of animals in the hull-Max barely survives, only to find himself in a tiny dinghy in the company of a jaguar, whom he imagines has been sent to torment him. Max is rescued and makes his way to Brazil, where he lives in relative comfort until he spies a man in a Nazi uniform across the courtyard. He flees again, this time to the hills, where he becomes a moderately successful farmer, marries a native and has a daughter. Max can be an irrational, not entirely likable hero, and in this slight but somber fable, there is little time for him to win readers' hearts, though he earns their sympathy. When another Nazi moves onto the hillside above him, Max finally stands up to fate and the forces of evil. Scliar's affecting story about the power of fear has what purports to be a happy ending, but the darkness lingers.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Fleeting pleasure leads to disaster when young Max Schmidt's first sexual encounter becomes an act of political subversion. Escape to Brazil salvages him from Nazi Germany's supremacist principles, a domineering father, and the macabre laboratories of one professor Kunz, who is in search of the meaning of life. But when it comes to liberating himself from bestial felines, Max is not so fortunate. The glaring eyes of his father's taxidermic tiger haunts his sleep. A jaguar happens to be his companion at sea after a shipwreck. His blissful exile is threatened when the cries of a panther mysteriously herald the arrival of a German officer. Scliar convivially probes the angst of the migrator and the loss of identity. Terse and whimsical, this engaging subterraneous fantasy strengthens the writer's already intrepid voice in Latin American fiction.
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- Bibi S. Thompson, " Library Journal "
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.