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Vidas secas, lançado originalmente em , é o romance em que mestre Graciliano — tão meticuloso que chegava a comparecer à gráfica no momento em que o livro entrava no prelo, para checar se a revisão não haveria interferido em seu texto — alcança o máximo da expressão que vinha buscando em sua prosa O que impulsiona os personagens é a seca, áspera e cruel, e paradoxalmente a ligação telúrica, afetiva, que expõe naqueles seres em retirada, à procura de meios de sobrevivência e um futuro Apesar desse sentimento de transbordante solidariedade e compaixão com que a narrativa acompanha a miúda saga do vaqueiro Fabiano e sua gente, o autor contou: Procurei auscultar a alma do ser rude e quase primitivo que mora na zona mais recuada do sertão os meus personagens são quase selvagens pesquisa que os escritores regionalistas não fazem e nem mesmo podem fazer porque comumente não são familiares com o ambiente que descrevemFiz o livrinho sem paisagens, sem diálogos E sem amor A minha gente, quase muda, vive numa casa velha de fazenda As pessoas adultas, preocupadas com o estômago, não tem tempo de abraçarse Até a cachorra [Baleia] é uma criatura decente, porque na vizinhança não existem galãs caninosVidas secas é o livro em que Graciliano, visto como antipoético e antisonhador por excelência, consegue atingir, com o rigor do texto que tanto prezava, um estado maior de poesia


10 thoughts on “Vidas Secas

  1. Mike Mike says:

    The chapter... yes, that chapter.

    Another reason to learn Portuguese.


  2. Ferris Ferris says:

    If Graciliano Ramos' intention was to convey the reason that ....to the city from the backland would come ever more and more of its sons, a never-ending stream of strong, strapping brutes...., then he was absolutely successful! Painting the backland family headed by Fabiano and Vitoria, along with their two boys, the reader cannot help but feel despair and an intense desire for change from the drought-ridden, hard-scrabble existence of this family. Simple people, depicted essentially as beasts of burden who are following their basest instinct for survival, this family tries tirelessly to survive and get ahead. Unfortunately, Mother Nature and the wealthy, smarter locals conspire to make it almost impossible. Yes, it is a dark, barren story. Yes, it is deceptively simple. Yes, it is profound.


  3. Beatriz Beatriz says:

    One of the most amazing stories of brazilian literature.


  4. Sarah Sammis Sarah Sammis says:

    Barren Lives (1938) covers a brief period of time in the life of a family as they try to eke out a living as farm hands on a ranch in a small village. Thematically the book reminds me of The Grapes of Wrath (1939) by John Steinbeck except that the family is more hopeful in Barren Lives because they are still on the move at the end of the book. Steinbeck's family reaches the promised land (California) only to find poverty and exploitation.

    The book is written in a straightforward manner. The text is as barren as the farm lands have been rendered by the drought. This simplicity makes the drought seem all the more real and the plight of the farming family more poignant.


  5. Gillyz Gillyz says:

    I didn't expect much of this story, but after finishing it I can say it's my favorite book of the Brazilian classic literature. It's the work of a genius with deep and intelligent criticism of the modern society.

    Vidas Secas (Dry lives) was written in 1938. It tells the story of a family who tries to escape from their misery facing the hardship of the Brazilian Northeast's drought, the exploitation of the poor by the wealthy and powerful, the oppression of the government, and the family's own limitations as human beings.

    By reading it, you can feel the despair and anguish of the protagonists whose education and instructions are limited to the level of not being able to express themselves other than the action-reaction system - based on feelings rather than on rationality- just like animals. For that, Fabiano (the father of the family) feels like he's a beast-man himself.
    One funny and shocking fact is that the writer makes you feel like the family's dog is actually the being with the most developed senses in the family.

    Moreover, Graciliano Ramos wrote the book in a cyclical manner, which makes it it possible to read the first chapter as a continuation of the last chapter. Its cyclical structure reflects the idea that their misery and their future generations' misery is a never-ending loop due to the social and territorial structures in which they are forced to live and die.


  6. Gavin Gavin says:

    Ramos was born into a poor Brazilian family and was illiterate until he was nine - yet he became a writer. Not unexpectedly, he describes a complete inability to inflate his writing style, or even write about something that he hasn't personally experienced. While Barren Lives isn't a roman a clef, Ramos's background is readily apparent in this simple story of a wretchedly poor (and illiterate) farming family trying to live between droughts on the plains of northeastern Brazil. The plot reminded me of Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath, the simplicity of the narrative reminded me of McCarthy's The Road, and the switching of third-person omniscience reminded me of Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio. A refreshing and short read from one of Brazil's classic authors.


  7. Lady Avalon Lady Avalon says:

    I have mixed feelings about this book. A quick but not an easy read, and whether you like it or not, it will not leave you indifferent.
    (..) Sabia perfeitamente que era assim, acostumara-se a todas as violências, a todas as injustiças. E aos conhecidos que dormiam no tronco e agüentavam cipó de boi oferecia consolações: - Tenha
    paciência. Apanhar do governo não é desfeita.” It saddens me that so little has changed, not only in Brazil but in so many countries around the world. I'd certainly recommend it.


  8. Alex Boehling Alex Boehling says:

    Having read many works by authors from the Latin American Boom Period such as V.S. Naipul, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Edwidge Danticat, Alejo Carpentier, and Jorge Amado, I was not as impressed with Graciliano Ramos. Barren Lives induces a feeling of sympathy for the impoverished people in Latin America that are constantly looking for a better existence, but it is not as powerful or moving as a text like Naipul's Miguel Street, for example. I was, however, left with a better understanding of the historical environmental crises experienced by subsistence farmers and ranchers in Brazil in the 1930s. I would recommend this novel if you are looking for a quick, easy read that provides insight into the patriarchal society of Latin America, as well as a portrayal of the constant flight toward a better life.


  9. Karen Karen says:

    Fabiano and Vitoria are fleeing with their two sons and an elderly dog from their home because of the drought that is plaguing the land. They find an abandoned ranch and decide to stay. They are barely hanging on. They find that the ranch isn't abandoned, but has an absentee landowner, who hires Fabiano to take care of the livestock. This is a spare novel without embellishments. I felt as though I were right there with them. Fabiano feels as though he is constantly being cheated and misunderstood, he can never get ahead. A powerful book.


  10. Becky Becky says:

    This book is absolutely brilliant!