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by Zulfikar Ghose
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United States
  • Author:
    Zulfikar Ghose
  • ISBN:
    0879511958
  • ISBN13:
    978-0879511951
  • Genre:
  • Publisher:
    Overlook Books (December 12, 1983)
  • Pages:
    320 pages
  • Subcategory:
    United States
  • Language:
  • FB2 format
    1949 kb
  • ePUB format
    1701 kb
  • DJVU format
    1871 kb
  • Rating:
    4.2
  • Votes:
    373
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The Incredible Brazilian (1972, The Overlook Press) is author Zulfikar Ghose’s fourth novel, and generally considered to be the one that made his impressive and prodigious writing career. The title The Incredible Brazilian would lead one to believe this is the story of one great man.

The Incredible Brazilian (1972, The Overlook Press) is author Zulfikar Ghose’s fourth novel, and generally considered to be the one that made his impressive and prodigious writing career. But just as a country is not created by one person, this is the tale of the not-so-incredible Brazilian, Gregório Peixoto da Silva Xavier. Gregório is a witness to everyone else’s adventures. He keeps his head in the clouds and his sights set on nothing but pleasure.

Zulfikar Ghose (born March 13, 1935) is a novelist, poet and essayist. A native of India and current resident of Texas, his works are primarily magical realism, blending fantasy and harsh realism. Born in Sialkot, India (now Pakistan), Ghose grew up as a Muslim. His father, Khwaja Mohammed Ghose, was a businessman. In 1942, during the Second World War, the family moved to Bombay (now Mumbai). After the partition of British India into Pakistan and India, Ghose and his family emigrated to England

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Zulfikar Ghose, Pakistani American author of novels, poetry, and criticism about cultural alienation. Ghose grew up a Muslim in Sialkot and in largely Hindu Bombay (Mumbai) and then moved with his family to England. Zulfikar Ghose, (born March 13, 1935, Sialkot, India ), Pakistani American author of novels, poetry, and criticism about cultural alienation.

Together, let's build an Open Library for the World. Are you sure you want to remove The incredible Brazilian. from your list? The incredible Brazilian. Published 1972 by Macmillan in London. Fiction in English, Protected DAISY, In library.

Below you'll find a Zulfikar Ghose books list, including published and even unpublished works

Any type of book or journal citing Zulfikar Ghose as a writer should. Below you'll find a Zulfikar Ghose books list, including published and even unpublished works. Any type of book or journal citing Zulfikar Ghose as a writer should appear on this list. The full bibliography of the author Zulfikar Ghose below includes book jacket images whenever possible.

Publication Details: Panther, Great Britain (1973). For Unlimited Number of Books to anywhere in Australia. Item Condition: Good. Sold bymanyhills (20144)100. 0% positive FeedbackContact seller. The Incredible Brazilian by Zulfikar Ghose - 1973 Small PB 0586038639 Panther.

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A fourteen-year-old boy growing up in seventeenth-century Brazil, embarks on a series of wild escapades in search of self-esteem and identity

Thomand
The Incredible Brazilian (1972, The Overlook Press) is author Zulfikar Ghose’s fourth novel, and generally considered to be the one that made his impressive and prodigious writing career. The title The Incredible Brazilian would lead one to believe this is the story of one great man. But just as a country is not created by one person, this is the tale of the not-so-incredible Brazilian, Gregório Peixoto da Silva Xavier. Gregório is a witness to everyone else’s adventures. He keeps his head in the clouds and his sights set on nothing but pleasure. Usually, he gets it.

No one trusts a narrator who begins his story with “I am an honest man,” and we trust Gregório even less when his rambling discourse next claims not to be given to flights of the imagination. And yet we find he is just human enough for us to have at least a little empathy, and so the reader is along with him for the ride.

Despite his grand name and family lineage, Gregório’s real talent is that he is a master of being in the right place at the right time, with the vision to quietly position himself to exploit the next situation at hand. This spoiled, lazy elder son (and that status matters in Latin America, where the eldest son inherits everything) becomes an adventurer, a prisoner, a leader of people, and a professional middle-man who does nothing, creates nothing, and accomplishes nothing but self-indulgence, sin and war. His success and reputation are all gained from inheritance and marriage, or else on the backs of slaves and workers. He proves himself to be a coward who faints in battle; someone of faltering allegiances and assorted infidelities; and he is repeatedly nearly destroyed, and saved, by his huge ego and self-importance.
At his best, Gregório is a young man whose charm and good looks find him in many beds but rarely loved; as an older man he is intermittently successful in his ventures, yet never fulfilled. Maybe this is why we can’t help but root for him, or at least hope he’ll find his way toward being a better person in this strange place. And 17th century Brazil is indeed a strange place! It is a land where one owns or is owned; where people are jailed at whim without trials; the lives of slaves, Indians, and women are worth less than horses; and maintaining the ranks of leadership may even require one to execute his own son. In the white European supremacist mindset, Gregório’s belief in Negro intellectual inferiority completely misses the fact that Jari, the African slave, is really his best friend with no freedom. Jari makes heroic rescues, shrewd plans, and brilliant business decisions, saving his master’s ass on many an occasion. The casual regard to acquiring, torturing, and sexually exploiting slaves, and the slaves even exploiting each other, is at points almost too much. As it should be.

The Indian attacks warrant an army revenge, with inflated dreams of taking a bounty of slaves, horses, and garnering reputations of fearlessness. Ah, but the Indians are wily and hard to subdue, as are stinging insects and the rainforest in general. In this jungle, Gregório and his men encounter priestly robbers, poisoned arrows, piranhas, ants, and cannibals---yet this is nothing like Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Ghose’s rainforest nearly has a personality of its own, a kind of Humbaba from the ancient epic Gilgamesh, the greater message being that it is better off just to leave it be. Ghose shows war and so-called “civilized man” to be utterly absurd, and the reader is often laughing out loud. Consider Veríssimo, for example, on his death bed, but still up for narrating a tale of adventure from his youth. It goes on for pages using lush language and images to build up a story that’s…well, not all that remarkable. And yet the reader is swept up in the experience of reading it. We at first forgive the author for this detail, believing the realism is sacrificed for the story, like so many Indian maidens. And then, somewhere in the midst of it, Veríssimo says, “Give me water, Antônio, just moisten my lips. I’m dying…” and we, the Readers, realize we’ve been had; the author is having a joke with us.

The Incredible Brazilian, while fiction, is based on Brazil’s real history. Ghose plays with long, complex yet entertaining sentences that feel natural and conversational once one gets into their rhythm. His language is often highly poetic, with mists seductively creeping over land and dark skies like a “vast sheet of iron.” We don’t know how much has been imagined (was a battle against the Indians really won with music?), but when one takes time to check the larger facts of invasions, slavery and human rights, The Incredible Brazilian is all, most unfortunately, plausible.

Structurally, we have many interesting pairings: two brothers on a journey; the two Catholic priests, Father Prado and Father Boscoli; Gregório’s father and his father’s father-in-law; the sisters Augustina and Alicia; the two sons named after the departed Antônio and Veríssimo. Each pairing seems to be a dichotomy, the yin to the yang. Gregório’s later opposite becomes Vianna—who is just as rich as he, but gives to the poor, reads religious books, and prefers to spend his time writing. Vianna is an odd sort, in Gregório’s view. Vianna evolves to become a Gandhi-ish unelected leader of the people, and even Gregório can’t help but respect the man.

Gregório gains and loses his riches over and over, first raising crops and stealing slaves, then trading cattle, slaves and women to gold miners, and purposefully marrying into the community’s richest family to further ensure his security. Oddly, this is where he finds something close to real love, if he is capable of such a thing.

Later in the story, Gregório sells arms to both sides in the Civil War of the Emboabas, the original immigrants, versus the Paulistas, or new immigrants. His goal is to keep the war going for profit – a goal that continues today no matter what governments or people are playing the game. “Nothing makes a people more God-fearing and obedient to the Government than to be living in a time of crisis” he says, and it sounds very much like Göering’s statement at Nuremberg: "Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

Ghose’s fiction has always been full of things that make us uneasy about the truth of man and animal nature, and this book is no exception. For a time, Gregório is humbled, living in the Quilombo under another ruler, but as Lord Acton once said, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Those who were oppressed by the white man oppress each other, and as soon as Gregório resumes power, he returns to his own tyrannical ways. Despite his own suffering, and despite his receiving compassion from others, few lessons are learned.

Bits of philosophy sneak into The Incredible Brazilian too. The character of the Frenchman Jean-François Du Clerc, living in his palatial prison, says, “if you have an order, as you call it, you are not prepared to look at the rest of the world through any other point of view except the narrow one of that order.” Isn’t that the lesson of this book? The lesson of the ages? And we, the readers, get it now: Ghose has destroyed the narrow view and order of what we believe the novel is supposed to be, in part through his own sheer bawdiness. What’s acceptable to joke about? How far can he go? What do we feel about such taboo? He has pushed us off the ledge, into the darkness. Are we laughing or crying? We don’t know, and we don’t know where or when we will hit bottom. It isn’t about the story, it isn’t about factual historical accuracy, it’s about feeling some things that happened, experiencing and understanding them in a new way. It’s about breaking out of the imprisoning frame of reference of Western culture. As his character Captain Major Fernão Dias Pais Leme, tells Gregório: “life was not a matter of seeking material advancement but one of looking beyond horizons.” What do any of us even know about Brazil today? How much time have we spent, looking past the boundaries of America and the west?

There is loveliness in The Incredible Brazilian too: Father Prado is a true holy man, who would probably be exiled from the Church for his ideas of human equality and the beauty of life. Sent as a missionary to change everything and civilize these people, Prado grows to appreciate what the Indians had to teach him. “All I was saying is that it’s just beautiful being here,” he says, and later: “Why impose your order on another society without first trying to see how that society works?” Prado speaks in the truth of riddles, because isn’t that how life goes? “Everything is possible because everything is ordained. Remember that God is the greatest coincidence of all.”

The Incredible Brazilian asks other big philosophical questions: What is a country? What is culture? What is a man? Gregório believes a nation is “what an emperor decides it is; or what an army decides.” He matter-of-factly embraces the Western perception that theirs is an advanced society. To Gregório, a white European heritage dictates superiority and everything and everyone else exists merely to serve their purposes. Animals, women, slaves, the dead, and Brazil itself are equally plundered by the European immigrants with no debt to pay, no pangs of conscience, no heart at all. Then, it’s off to the next ransacking.

A story is what an author decides it is. The Incredible Brazilian is the tale of a man living on the edge of everyone else’s story, and we are taken one by one, through everyone else’s stories, until they collectively form what we know of Gregório. Perhaps it’s best summed up by Antônio Rapôso Tavares, or rather, the man who thinks he is Tavares, when he says, “Finally, there is no reality; each one of us expresses his own version of the possibilities of experience, each one of us is, in the end, an approximation.”
Hudora
Zulfikar Ghose is without question the greatest Pakistani Latin American magical realist. This is probably the reason he is not better known, and the reason that this, his masterpiece, is sadly out of print. He is too hard to categorize.
Set in 16th century Brazil, the novel is a brilliant exploration of ambition, greed, deception and lust. Lust perhaps being the most important of these, as the desire to possess a new and virgin continent is conflated with, and sometimes identical to, sexual desire.
The language is beautiful, precise, sometimes arcane and always compelling. And although this novel contains serious reflections on important philosophical themes, the narrative drive never flags. As you read the ending, you will want to flip to Page One and begin again.
Painwind
This first part of the trilogy is an intensive vignette of 17th
Century Brazilian quest for a national culture with philosophical engagements regarding the treatment of slaves. All that stuff which makes a picaresque novel: sex, roadside rogues, natural setting, chance, human meanness and compassion,etc. are incorporated by Ghose with immense grip and mastery. The style of the novel agrees with the Times the novel is set in. A must read for those who have a major in Literature or are interested in Pakistani Diaspora Fiction in English.