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The War in Bom Fim (Americas)

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What if, as David William Foster poses in his introduction to Brazilian author Moacyr Scliar s novel, the Germans did choose to invade the Americas in the second World War? What if the Luftwaffe did plan to bomb American cities? Wartime residents of Brazil s populous urban areas where Scliar himself grew up in the 1940s surely asked themselves those same questions. And immigrant Jews, clustered in the Bom Fim neighborhood of Brazil s third-largest city, had reason to wonder even more than others. With playful irony, homage to the Jewish folktale, a touch of magical realism, and keen insight into the customs and characters of this Yiddish-speaking melting pot, Scliar spins a fable of an imaginary war waged by the youngsters of Bom Fim. Brothers Nathan and Joel and their gang defend their quarter against a pretend German military invasion, while their parents deal with the quarrels and worries of the adult world. But which is more real? In Scliar s richly layered fantasy Carnival and Pesach, Nazi and Jew, the consumer and the consumed, the grotesque and the quotidian intermingle unexpectedly amid the kitchens and alleys of Bom Fim. At last available to English-language readers, students, and teachers, this first novel of a master storyteller brilliantly portrays a little-appreciated segment of Latin American, and Jewish, culture."
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About the Author

Moacyr Scliar says of himself that he is a writer, doctor and Jew which only goes to show what a burden a human being is able to carry around with him. Born in Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil, in 1937, Scliar studied medicine and worked as a doctor in the public health service until retirement. In 2003 he was elected member of the Academia Brasileira das Letras. His award-winning works, which include novellas, short stories, books for young readers, and novels and have been translated into numerous languages, have earned him a place among Latin America s most important contemporary writers. Best known for the novel O centauro no Jardim (1980; translated as The Centaur in the Garden, 1985), he published A guerra no Bom Fim, his first novel, in 1972.David William Foster is the Regents Professor of Spanish and Women and Gender Studies at Arizona State University and the author of numerous works on Latino literature and culture."

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