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JOÃO UBALDO RIBEIRO

As provetas do diabo

"Every new book from João Ubaldo Ribeiro has something in common with those that preceded it. It is in this way that Sargento Getúlio is related to Setembro não tem sentido: the latter is a portrait of the frustrations and aversions suffered by a group of intellectuals, with only the landscape of Salvador, in the early 1960’s, to link them in terms of narrative; the former is a tense and timeless tale of two men intimately united by hatred and violence, which drags them to their deaths in a terrestrial odyssey beneath the burning sun of the north-eastern desert. Thus too, in the transition from Vencecavalo e o outro povo – a collection of short-stories cut through by the alternation of debauchery with absurdity – to Viva o povo brasileiro, a saga of collective dreams which spins itself out, lyrically and realistically, over centuries and generations. O sorriso do lagarto is no exception to this rule of the absence of rules in the construction of the Bahian fiction-writer’s output. (...)

(...) However, it’s important to underline the fact that O sorriso do lagarto is not a Bahian novel. It’s as far from being a regional work as Halley’s comet was from Earth on its last passage through the solar system; and it makes no concession to the exoticism employed by so many latin-american authors in order to conquer the bored readers of rich countries. Apart from its geographical coordinates, one or two cultural references and a few inevitable brushstrokes that sharpen the vibrant colours of its scenario, the tale could be situated in any setting – so long as it includes that undefined border between the modern world and one other which merely touches it at a tangent.

O sorriso do lagarto is balanced atop this imaginary line. It is clearly a novel which turns its gaze onto the modern world, building bridges in that direction and even absorbing into its plot ingredients that attract the interest of consumers to the north of the Equator. But at the same time as it proposes to be a contemporary and universal novel, O sorriso do lagarto is a gesture of confidence – as well as a pure and open condemnation and negation of certain values dear to universality and contemporaneity."
Mário Pontes. O Liberal. 4.11.89.

Política prática, para leigos

"(...) João Ubaldo chose to prepare a kind of manual for the layman, for those men and women of the so-called middle-class who are unfamiliar with theory but are concerned with the practical questions of politics (as they are today discussed amongst us).

In short chapters, and with captivating clarity, in this enlarged re-edition of "Política", João Ubaldo speaks of the State, the Nation, power, class, ideology, political parties and even proportional representation. In the midst of the election campaign, an excellent compact course is within our reach."
Leandro Konder. O Globo. Rio de Janeiro, 19.10.86.