The Brothers – Milton Hatoum

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Set among a Lebanese immigrant community in the Brazilian port of Manaus, The Brothers is the story of identical twins, Yaqub and Omar, whose mutual jealousy is offset only by their love for their mother. But it is Omar who is the object of Zana’s Jocasta-like passion, while her husband, Halim, feels her slipping away from him, as their beautiful daughter, RGnia, makes a tragic claim on her brothers’ affection. Vivid, exotic, and lushly atmospheric, The Brothers is the story of a family’s disintegration, of a changing city and the culture clash between the native-born inhabitants and a new immigrant group, and of the future the next generation will make from the ruins.

The Death of Ivan Ilitch – Liev Tolstói

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Hailed as one of the world’s supreme masterpieces on the subject of death and dying, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is the story of a worldly careerist, a high court judge who has never given the inevitability of his death so much as a passing thought. But one day death announces itself to him, and to his shocked surprise he is brought face to face with his own mortality. How, Tolstoy asks, does an unreflective man confront his one and only moment of truth? This short novel was the artistic culmination of a profound spiritual crisis in Tolstoy’s life, a nine-year period following the publication of Anna Karenina during which he wrote not a word of fiction. A thoroughly absorbing and, at times, terrifying glimpse into the abyss of death, it is also a strong testament to the possibility of finding spiritual salvation.

One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Márquez

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One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendia family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, and alive with unforgettable men and women — brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul — this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction.

The Outsider – Albert Camus

o-estrangeiro‘My mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don’t know.’ In The Outsider1942), his classic existentialist novel, Camus explores the alienation of an individual who refuses to conform to social norms. Meursault, his anti-hero, will not lie. When his mother dies, he refuses to show his emotions simply to satisfy the expectations of others. And when he commits a random act of violence on a sun-drenched beach near Algiers, his lack of remorse compounds his guilt in the eyes of society and the law. Yet he is as much a victim as a criminal. Albert Camus’ portrayal of a man confronting the absurd, and revolting against the injustice of society, depicts the paradox of man’s joy in life when faced with the ‘tender indifference’ of the world.