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Rio de Janeiro (Writer and the City) Hardcover

3.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The fifth book in Bloomsbury's the Writer and the City series is no dry travelogue, dutifully reciting the requisite tourist attractions and eating and drinking establishments. Castro (Bossa Nova), a notable Brazilian essayist, meanders through Rio the way a long-time resident might take a visitor through favorite neighborhoods, telling charming anecdotes as they occur to him: a French viscount's lunatic plan to knock down the Sugar Loaf mountain that rises in the midst of Guanabara Bay; the quixotic efforts to move Carnival to the cooler month of June; the playboy Porfirio Rubirosa's loss of his wife in the middle of a dance floor. Historical fables are woven in with an account of contemporary Brazil and a strong dose of the legendary carioca humor. Castro takes us from Amerigo Vespucci's arrival in Brazil in 1502 to the 17th- and 18th-century battles for control of Rio, recounting colonial-era maneuvering with an ear for irony. His musical chronicles follow the Belle Époque and the first hit samba in the 1960s Carnival, "The Girl from Ipanema." He also recounts the drug wars and the growth of the hillside favela slums. He conveys Rio's jeito, or indefinable spirit, in a way that no traditional travel book could ever do.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Often resembling "heaven and hell at the same time," Rio de Janeiro has served as a haven for pirates, fugitives, and rebels, and until 1888 it was one of the world's largest slave markets. But despite its checkered past and troubled present, Rio refuses to take itself seriously. When Portuguese explorer Amerigo Vespucci first arrived in 1502, he discovered natives who "spent all their time singing and dancing in the sun, everybody naked, cheerfully fornicating in the woods"--that is, when they weren't eating each other. Today, Rio celebrates Carnival as its cultural centerpiece, and its inhabitants fill Copacabana's sex- and samba-fueled nightclubs, even while the thriving local drug trade routinely erupts in car chase and police shoot-outs. The beach, meanwhile, serves as a pseudo-town square: the places to meet friends, get gossip, and talk business. A worthy entry in Bloomsbury's Writer and the City series, this small, compact book teems with detail and offers an exciting take on Rio's topsy-turvy social history. Andy Boynton
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • ASIN: B001SARCL6
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,191,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Rio is every carioca's mistress.

As a true lover of the city, I was amazed by Ruy Castro's profound and inspired view of Rio. He makes this book as interesting for someone just looking for a travel guide as for the most serious and passionate student of the city's soul.

Rio is more than just a beautiful accident of geography and history. This one place that, so stubbornly and yet, so rightfully calls itself "the wonderful city", like a being greater than its buildings, streets, beaches and mountains, is a major character of our lives.

This is no trivial book about Rio. Ruy Castro writes, in a good-humored and elegant style, a guide to the carioca soul: a fresh, original and colorful view of the city and the people that make it the best place to live in the world.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Those who loved Castro's book about Bossa Nova, might find his book about Rio a bit thin. No photos, less details and not many anecdotes from the last decade. Still "Carnival under Fire" offered interesting knowledge about Rio's fascinating history. And Ruy Castro knows how to write.
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Format: Hardcover
I first read Ruy Castro's 'Bossa Nova' and wanted more! Then I found this book, and loved it. I also went on to read Ruy Castro's next book (translated into English) Garrincha which is about a Futebol star. I am not into soccer but I loved the book.

I recommend this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Ruy Castro's chronicle of Rio takes you through the city's centuries long history to where it is today: the marvelous city. Castro has great wit and humor and has knack for telling a story. Excellent quick read before visiting Rio before the Carnival.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Castro is a fair writer, presenting an honest view of the city. I've never been, so I cannot base this on my own experiences. The book presents a little bit of everything which seems to be central to Rio: the nightlife, Carnival, the cuisine and, most importantly for me, the history. The problem with small books such as this one, which in a standard layout would maybe top 130 pages, is that the writer is prohibited from straying from the main path of introducing the city to the reader. I would say this book is the equivalent of spending two days in a major city - seeing the major sights, creating opinions and generalizations without really getting to know any citizen or neighborhood too well. However, the book did succeed in what I took as its major goal: to get the reader to go to Rio. Brazil is now definitely near the top of my travel list.
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