A Look at the Portuguese World



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The jungle

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It is a classic of Portuguese literature by the acclaimed Ferreira de Castro, one of the authors of neo-realism.

"The Jungle" is according to its own author an astonishing epic about the struggle of Ceará and Maranhão in the Amazon forest, but when I finished reading this book I could not agree with the writer, quite the opposite and I went looking for an antonym that I thought it would be more suited to this ode to human misery, exploitation, and martyrdom, and the only word I could find was an epigram which did not sound appropriate either, because it does not translate effectively the concept of "suffering of the humble", as Ferreira himself Castro states. Hence to my own description, a collective journey to the deepest hell of the Amazon in search of a chimera that ends in the most barbaric and cruel way that you can imagine and that expose the darkest side of the human soul. In the Portico, and not epilogue, because my edition is from 1957, Ferreira de Castro himself explains why he went thru burning green plague... the search for "the legendary fortune where men were cloistered of the world in a labor of martyrdom for the conquest of black gold "and no, we are not talking about oil, contrary to what you may think, but rubber! A product of high commercial value, at the international level, in the first quarter of the twentieth century, because it was used on the wheels of the greatest technological innovation of the time, the automobile. Such precious liquid that would make rich the indebted poor men from Portugal, from the various corners of Brazil and the world, but instead, the jungle had the power to decimate that dream in the most ruthless and painful way possible. I will not go so far as to say that it is totally a self-biography, but I am sure that the Alberto of our history will "drink" much of Ferreira de Castro's own personal experience as an emigrant when he also sought to make a fortune in the rubber tree of Paradise, on the banks of the Madeira River and by the same token he did not find it. Instead, he brought the vivid experience of a precarious and almost damn existence of a jungle that did not kill him luckly, but which haunted his life as a nightmare. It is not a "nice" reading, let's face it, but it is a literary pearl of an author, sometimes forgotten, so I recommend it. Have a nice reading.

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