Publication Date: May 3, 2013
Publisher: Press 53
Genre: General Fiction/Literary
A Hero for the People: Stories of the Brazilian Backlands is Arthur Power’s debut collection of short stories set in Contemporary Brazil, where he and his wife lived for almost 30 years.
“Set in the vast and sometimes violent landscape of contemporary Brazil, this book is a gorgeous collection of stories-wise, hopeful, and forgiving, but clear-eyed in its exploration of the toll taken on the human heart by greed, malice, and the lust for land.” (Debra Murphy, CatholicFiction.net).
Praise for A Hero for the People: Stories of the Brazilian Backlands“This is a remarkable collection. The Brazil that Arthur Powers brings to life in these stories is a testing ground for the human heart, an alarmingly real place where the extremes of poverty and opulence, iniquity and justice, hate and love, bring his characters—and readers—face to face with life.” —Bernardo Aparicio García, Publisher of Dappled Things
“A Hero for the People is a stirring narrative about the people, history, and culture of Brazil. At root are the working-class men and women who sparkle with delight and labor in pain—and the reader is implicated intimately in their elemental emotions and vital experiences. This is a book where otherwise parched historical details become life stories worth imbibing, remembering, and repeating.” —Gregory F. Tague, Professor of English, General Editor of Editions Bibliotekos
“Arthur Powers is more than a totally captivating, adventurous storyteller. He is a wonderfully accomplished writer who enriches the reader’s experience of life, and is a mighty skillful reporter who knows the ins and outs of people and places. While his locations are often fascinatingly exotic, more importantly his people are always engagingly real! In short, Powers is in that rare company of authors who are impossible to put down!” —John Reid, director of the Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
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A Hero For the People turned out to be not at all what I was expecting from this story collection, but really glad that I got a chance to read them. Many stories have a haunting beauty quality to them and could easily be classified as thrillers. Since Arthur Powers spent his time in Brazil serving with the Franciscan Friars, I was expecting more stories of helping people and hopefully some stories of the landscape. These stories are in here, but my favorites were more of the chilling variety. Here are short recaps and reviews of the stories I thought were the most intriguing:
The Bridge sets the tone of the work that Arthur is doing in Brazil, some of the desperate situations that people in the area are in as well as the setting of the backlands and the character of the people who live there . This story is a bit of a whopper to begin with, but definitely grabbed my attention.
The story Hate alone is well worth the read. A haunting story of hate and greed and how it can affect a person. Definitely worth it, even if it read as a stand-alone.
Two Foxes is an endearing story of a farmer's relationship with the animals around him, for better or for worse.
Another chilling story, Famine shows the power of hunger and how far a group of people will go for the opportunity to eat.
Overall, a collection of heart-wrenching, heart-pounding and heartbreaking stories from the far reaches of Brazil that opened my eyes to what life is like in that region of the world.
This book was provided for free in return for an honest review.
Arthur Powers went to Brazil in 1969 and lived most his adult life there. From 1985 to 1997, he and his wife served with the Franciscan Friars in the Amazon, doing pastoral work and organizing subsistence farmers and rural workers’ unions in a region of violent land conflicts. The Powers currently live in Raleigh North Carolina.
Arthur received a Fellowship in Fiction from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, three annual awards for short fiction from the Catholic Press Association, and 2nd place in the 2008 Tom Howard Fiction Contest. His poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in many magazines & anthologies. He is the author of A Hero For The People: Stories From The Brazilian Backlands (Press 53, 2013) and The Book of Jotham (Tuscany Press, 2013).
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