The Devil to Pay in the Backlands

The Devil to Pay in the Backlands

Book Description

The original title refers to the veredas – small paths through wetlands usually located at higher altitudes characterized by the presence of grasses and buritizais, groups of the buriti palm-tree (Mauritia flexuosa),[1] that criss-cross the Sertão region in northern Minas Gerais as a labyrinthine net where an outsider can easily get lost, and where there is no single way to a certain place, since all paths interconnect in such a way that any road can lead anywhere. The English title refers to a later episode in the book involving an attempt to make a deal with the Devil. Most of the book’s spirit is however lost in translation, as the Portuguese original is written in a register that is both archaic and colloquial, as well as full of the author’s remakable neologisms, which makes the aesthetics of the book a challenging task to transpose to other languages.

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