The vivid sense of community at the heart of modern-day Brazil is revealed in this bittersweet lament. Since the arrival of Gringa, everything has been going wrong—Maria Aparecida, the queen of the slums, has disappeared; one-eyed Tonio has stopped singing; and the clairvoyant Mama Lourdes can only predict bad news. The sleepy town of Bahia slowly withers as, one by one, its children abandon the town to follow their fortunes in the big cities of southern Brazil. Once there, they discover the rampant violence and squalor of Rio de Janeiro's shantytowns, the lively streets of São Paolo, and the despair within Bahia's prison, Canju.
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