Brazil: A Novella

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Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2010 - Fiction - 126 pages
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Winner of the Ruthanne Wiley Memorial Novella Contest, Selected By Josip Novakovich

Brazil is a quintessential American road trip. Paulo, an 18 year old bell boy in a Miami Beach hotel, and Claudia, a wealthy Hungarian refugee, take off on a night drive that turns into a cross-country journey, a sleep deprived search for the real America and for missing family, a fast-moving car trip into her past and toward their future.

"Kercheval's novella is not only structured as a journey but is a wild ride through much of America, portraying two unlikely companions in a highly charged and tense relationship. The narrative moves briskly, in economic language, and chronologically, without the customary flashbacks and postmodernist collage tricks---an extremly well written and suspenseful tale, cinematically vivid, provocative, and wonderful."---Josip Novakovich

"Brazil reminds me of why I started reading in the first place, to be enchanted, to be swept up and carried away from my world and dropped into a world at once more vivid and incandescent. The prose is luminous and compassionate, the characters are riveting and heroic, the themes complex and resonant, and the pace is relentless. This is not a book you can put down before it's finished with you. You won't soon forget Paulo and Claudia as they rocket across the country into the heartland, searching for love, family, and a home in the world."---John Dufresne

"The novella is at once the most elegant and demanding form: a writer must balance the looseness of a novel with the concision of a short story, a feat that only the bravest and most talented of us can manage. In Brazil, Jesse Lee Kercheval proves, yet again, that she is exactly the right writer for the job. A wild American picaresque, Brazil snaps along briskly, yet feels full-fleshed, and brims with a sly wit and grace.---Lauren Groff

"What sleight-of-hand have we here---a novella that's as rich as a book three times its length while as seamless as a sonnet? Jesse Lee Kercheval's Brazil is a glorious road trip into Florida's heart of darkness, where damned near anything is possible, and points beyond. No one in this book has ever been told not to give rides to strangers. For that, this reader is grateful."---John McNally

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About the author (2010)

Jesse Lee Kercheval is the author of eleven books of fiction, poetry and nonfiction including the poetry collection Cinema Muto (Southern Illinois University Press), winner of the Crab Orchard Open Selection Award, and the story collection The Alice Stories (University of Nebraska Press), which won the Prairie Schooner Fiction Book Prize. Her first story collection The Dogeater (University of Missouri Press) won the Associated Writing Programs Award in Short Fiction, and Space (Alonquin Books), her memoir about growing up near Cape Kennedy during the moon race, won the Alex Award from the American Library Association. Her individual stories and poems appear regularly in magazines in the U.S, the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Germany, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. She is currently the Sally Mead Hands Bascom Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she directs of the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing.

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