Brazil's Estrada Real — the Royal Road — was constructed in 1697 to bring the gold and diamonds from the mountains of Minas Gerais to ports at Rio de Janeiro and Paraty. The road is still there, winding through the mountains, passing through villages and towns once opulent, now in decadence. Glenn Alan Cheney hiked up the road for two months to write about its history, geography, culture, and people.
Life along the Estrada Real is still very much in the 19th century. Women cook meals on wood stoves. Men go about their business on horseback. Mules carry firewood and such. People will invite a stranger into the house and offer him food.
Cheney's book is a unique look at the cradle of Brazilian culture. This isn't the Brazil of beaches, rain forests, and slum-infected cities. It's a place where tradition, architecture, food, music, and values go back hundreds of years. But the quiet, rural life along the Estrada Real is under assault from global culture, a concern Cheney grapples with as he makes what may be the last observations of a dying way of life.
The book includes photographs taken along the Estrada Real. You can read excerpts and see photos at cheneybooks.com .
Translations of 21 short stories by Machado de Assis, with Portuguese and English on facing pages. Most have never before appeared in English. Translators include Laura Cade Brown, Krista Brune, David George, Linda Ledford-Miller, Ana Lessa-Schmidt, Nelson López Rojas, John Maddox, Adam Morris, Rex P. Nielson, Leila Osman, Marissel…
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