While I'd hoped to spring the good news about this papal conclave-style secret more than a month ago, it gives me enormous areligious pleasure to finally announce the late May group read of João Guimarães Rosa's 1956 Grande Sertão: Veredas [a/k/a The Devil to Pay in the Backlands in its English incarnation*] that I'll be co-hosting with Miguel of St. Orberose, Rise of in lieu of a field guide, and Scott of seraillon (also, thanks to Scott who, with some assistance from Rise, came up with that cool button for the event above). As befits a novel that at least one person with Wikipedia editing access has dubbed the Brazilian Ulysses for its ecstatic linguistic peculiarities and slippery range of high and low registers, the four of us will be reading this South American modernist epic in English (Rise, the intrepid re-reader in the bunch), French and English (Scott), the original Portuguese (Miguel), and Spanish (me). You? You're welcome to read the novel in any language you choose should you choose to join us in following in the tracks of the jagunço Riobaldo as he journeys through the arid Brazilian backlands wrestling with the problems of good and evil, life and fate, and his next shape-shifting monologue in no particular order. In any event, please note that discussion of the novel is slated to commence sometime during the last week of May at all of the participating blogs. Hope to see you then!
*A word about the English translation. Rise has pointed out that the not universally well received translation of The Devil to Pay in the Backlands brought to you by James L. Taylor and Harriet de Onis for Knopf in 1963 is long out of print and not all that easy to find. Although that's certainly no way to treat a translation of a novel that The Guardian includes among The top 100 books of all time, you could still pick up a couple of beat-up used copies of it on Amazon for under $500 bucks each the last I checked. Failing that, you could also start getting that ILL order ready now (trust me, libraries--and those handsome devils and glamorous she-devils who only work in them--are sometimes truly your best friends).