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by Bernardo Carvalho

This powerful, award-winning Brazilian novel is reminiscent of Naipaul, Faulkner and Conrad in its exploration of human behaviour on the edges of civilization.In August 1939, a twenty-seven-year old American ethnologist, brilliant and from a solid background, mysteriously commits suicide in Brazil while studying among the tribes of the Amazonian basin. He leaves behind him seven letters, alleging different motives for his suicide: to some, he said he had contracted a terrible disease; to others, he said that he could not recover from his wife’s betrayal with his own brother (but he wasn’t married, and he didn’t have a brother).In the present, the narrator becomes obsessed with the search for an eighth letter he is convinced must have existed. As the reader observes, his search slowly drives him mad — a Marlowe haunted by the fate of his own Kurtz. This is truly a remarkable novel.
Download Nine Nights epub
ISBN: 0434012955
ISBN13: 978-0434012954
Category: Literature
Author: Bernardo Carvalho
Language: English
Publisher: William Heinemann (April 3, 2007)
Pages: 288 pages
ePUB size: 1603 kb
FB2 size: 1798 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 368
Other Formats: mbr lit lrf lrf

This book is the "high literature" response to journalistic accounts like "Into the Wild" by Krakauer. I enjoyed both books. Nine Nights, under the guise of a journalistic investigation on the death of a young ethnologist, describes life past and present in Brazil, and on the living conditions of the native Indios. Besides the voice of the journalist, we have the stream of consciousness of a second narrator, who provides a more dramatic commentary. This commentary is the fictitious part of this "true story."
Yes, this book is faintly reminiscent of Heart of Darkness, however the authors accounts of his encounters with Amazonian Natives are hilarious and endearing. This is just a well written story, something that is increasingly rare as authors nowadays seem more and more intrigued with formulaic approaches. Nine Nights reads like a diary. Occasionally repetitious, but that merely adds to its authenticity.
Fascinating mix of fact and fiction abouta youngmanfrom Bismarck, North Dakota.
Apparently part autobiography, part biography, and part fiction, "Nine Nights" speculates on the psychological makeup of a precocious Columbia University anthropologist. Buell Quain, a North Dakotan, committed suicide in northern Brazil in the company of the aboriginal Krahô tribe he was studying. "Buell Quain killed himself on the night of August 2, 1939," writes Carvalho--"the same day that Albert Einstein sent President Roosevelt the historic letter in which he alerted him to the possibility of the atomic bomb." Quain died at age 27, and although the gruesome manner of his suicide is documented, the reasons for it remain mysterious.

Carvalho becomes obsessed with discovering more about the reasons for Quain's premature demise, and "Nine Nights" is a narrative of his investigation coupled with fictional speculation about why he might have ended his life when his future as a distinguished anthropologist seemed so assured. Suspense builds as Carvalho travels to Krahô territory in remote northern Brazil and to New York City in an effort to tease out information that might lead to an explanation of Quain's death and, by extension, his philosophy of life.

At a minimum, this is the most captivating biographical work I've ever read about anyone who hailed from North Dakota--imagine that it should come from Brazil! Carvalho's descriptions of Quain's family members and their role as prominent early citizens of Bismarck, N.D., although brief, ought to be interesting to those who want to learn more about North Dakota history.

Carvalho occasionally philosophizes on contemporary issues, and one phrase is particularly memorable. Speaking of September 11, 2001, and its aftermath, he says, "Wars today seem to occur at a more precise point in time, but deep down they are permanent."