We’re back up and running.

In Barcelona I picked up Sagarana and Gran Sertón: Veredas, the most recent Spanish language manifestations of Guimarães Rosa’s masterpieces, published by Adriana Hidalgo editora. I haven’t read the English translation of Sagarana, so my first encounter with the opening story, “O burrinho pedrês,” (“El Burrito Pardo”) has been in Spanish. It’s magnificent so far. “[…] la historia de un burrito, como la historia de un hombre grande, se puede contar bien resumiendo un solo día de su vida (28).” [The story of a little burro, like the story of a great man, can be told by recounting just a single day of his life.] These books (among several others) added significant weight to my luggage on the return trip from Barcelona, but they were well worth it.

Travessia by Juliana Simonetti is a brand new book I just received in the mail yesterday. I’ve only reached the third page (because it’s difficult to read Portuguese when you don’t know Portuguese), but I look forward to the coming pages. Travessia is the reportage of Simonetti’s travels as she follows the route taken in 1952 by Guimarães Rosa, on the back of his mule, Balalaica, accompaning a herd led by seven vaquieros—the material from which served Guimarães Rosa as source material for the works Corpo de Baile and Grande Sertão: Veredas. In 2007, Travessia received the Embratel Press Award for Cultural Journalism. Juliana Simonetti, as we learn from her bio for the book, is from Sorocaba, Brazil, where she is the editor of the culture section for the newspaper Southern Cross, Sorocaba. She holds a post-graduate degree in Art History from the State University of London, and she’s a member of the Academy of Sorocaban Letters. Her first book, Poiesis, discusses the work of six visual artists based in London.

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