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The Apprentice Tourist
A Brazilian masterpiece, now in English for the first time: a playfully profound chronicle of an urban sophisticate’s misadventures in the Amazon
A Penguin Classic
“My life’s done a somersault,” wrote Mário de Andrade in a letter, on the verge of taking a leap. After years of dreaming about Amazonia, and almost fifty years before Bruce Chatwin ventured into one of the most remote regions of South America in In Patagonia, Andrade, the queer mixed-race “pope” of Brazilian modernism and author of the epic novel Macunaíma, finally embarks on a three-month steamboat voyage up the great river and into one of the most dangerous and breathtakingly beautiful corners of the world. Rife with shrewd observations and sparkling wit, The Apprentice Tourist not only offers an awed and awe-inspiring fish-out-of-water account of the Indigenous peoples and now-endangered landscapes of Brazil that he encounters (and, comically, sometimes fails to reach), but also traces his internal metamorphosis: The trip prompts him to rethink his ingrained Eurocentrism, challenges his received narratives about the Amazon, and alters the way he understands his motherland and the vast diversity of cultures found within it.