Brazil, 1890s. A mysterious prophet is walking around Bahia, telling tales of doom and swearing that the newly established Republic of Brazil will fail. He is followed by the poor, but also by thieves, murderers, whores and other he has put his hands on. They build a new town, where the rules of the Republic don’t exist. The regional government of Bahia doesn’t like this and sends an army and this is the start of the long war between the prophet’s people and the Republic of Brazil.
This was a hard read for me because it is so richly detailed. Every character is described, often starting by his birth, and thus I could only handle about twenty pages a day. Was it really necessary to describe the war from every angle? It is as brutal and dark as Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy but mixed with magic realism. But it misses something, because I felt that I could at any point in the book stop reading and it wouldn’t have mattered if I finished it or not. I guess it didn’t make me curious about what would happen next.
And oh, I read a Norwegian edition and it had so many typos and occasionally bad language that it made me sad (and glad that I bought it at a second-hand store).