Barbecued Husbands: And Other Stories from the Amazon

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Verso, 2002 - Social Science - 310 pages
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Winner of the coveted Associacao Paulista de Criticos de Arte Prize. The indigenous tribes of the Brazilian rainforests are on the verge of extinction. It was feared that the narratives which had sustained them over centuries might die with them. Betty Mindlin was determined to record these legends and the result is a startling piece of anthropology. Mindlin, inspired by the work of Claude Levi-Strauss, has shown that what often appears to be the creation of a fantastical, isolated imagination is just a fragment, part of a much larger whole. The stories recounted in Barbecued Husbands are as old as humanity: love and hate, jealousy and revenge, life after death, totems and taboos, erotic solitude, romantic love, mothers and daughters, masculinity. All this is discussed with an openness that would surprise a Western psychoanalyst. Most of the stories were narrated by tribespeople in their own languages and the translations were carefully checked with them before they appeared in print. The collaboration between the author and the narrator is close throughout, making this book a unique document and an important reference work. Reading like a novel, this is an oral history suffused with magic realism.
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
The ghost lover and the girl with the giant clitoris
14
The koman song the frog song or the women who barbecued
30
The great snake awandd the boa constrictor
48
When children were born from their mothers toenails
62
The offended wife the flight to a macaw husband and the height
78
JVakotutxe pio the mutilated lover
86
The Pawatu massacre the Tupari
102
Tororoi the frog
158
The greedy wife
163
Keroopeho the castrated man the man who turned into a woman
181
Nekohon the Picodejaca snake husband
195
The Tapir
208
Wanzei warande the women who went away
225
The queen of the bees
239
women without men
267

The clay woman
116
The king vultures rival or the crazy horny girl
130
The moon
145
Bibliography
281
The six indigenous peoples of the narrators
297
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Betty Mindlin is an anthropologist living in Brazil. She helped to found the Institute of Anthropology and Meio Ambiente-IAMA (Institute of Anthropology and the Environment). Barbecued Husbands and Pregnant Earth have become best-selling classics of contemporary anthropology in Brazil.

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