Samba Dreamers: A Novel

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University of Arizona Press, 2006 - Fiction - 304 pages
1 Review
Rosea spoke, her voice steady. "I was in jail a long time, you know. I'm paying for my sins. Now I live in a dingy apartment. I get to watch my neighbors' kids play and have a normal life that I'll never have. I smell their barbecues. I'm already in hell, believe me." Joe turned to go back to the car. "You don't know what hell is. You have no idea."

When Josť Francisco Verguerio Silva arrives at LAX, fleeing the brutal dictatorship in his native Brazil, he is determined to become Americanized at all costs. He lands a job driving a Hollywood tour bus and posing as Ricky Ricardo. He marries a blonde waitress and becomes the father of twins. Yet happiness remains elusive for Joe as he is haunted by flashbacks of prison torture. And soon a torrid affair with Rosea Socorro Katz, the crazed daughter of Hollywood's Brazilian star Carmen Socorro, proves to be even more dangerous than the life he has fled.

Rosea spent her childhood watching her mother unravel as the celebrity system toyed with and eventually destroyed her career. Carmen had always claimed to be descended from Amazons, the woman warriors of legend, but she was tamed by Hollywood. Not Rosea. She has just finished serving jail time for setting fire to the home of her ex-husband--in an attempt to destroy his collection of Brazilian artifacts--and sets out to salvage her life.

Along the way, she manages to tear down the lives of everyone she meets. The Brazil of the imagination is shattered in this novel of two tortured souls wrestling with the myths of movies, politics, and the American Dream. Laced with fantastic tales of bird-boys and cannibal rituals, it spins a compelling story of desperation as it reminds us that American freedom and the myth of unbridled opportunity can also consume and destroy.

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User Review  - Karin7 - LibraryThing

This book is very dark and rather gruesome at times, but I once knew the author so finished it. She can write very, very well, but this is not my kind of novel, so I'm giving it a 3. Read full review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Overwrought first novel set in the mid-1970s about a Brazilian immigrant tortured by his past. Jose Francisco Verguerio Silva, a former political prisoner, arrives at LAX and transforms himself into ... Read full review


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About the author (2006)

Kathleen de Azevedo was born in Rio de Janeiro but has lived much of her life in the United States. Her writing has appeared in such publications as the Los Angeles Times, Michigan Quarterly Review, Boston Review, Hayden s Ferry Review, Greensboro Review, and Americas, and she has been a frequent contributor to Brazzil magazine. She currently lives in San Francisco and teaches at Skyline College.

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