Here at last is an exciting new edition of the Brazilian modernist epic Macunaíma: The Hero with No Character, by Mário de Andrade. This landmark 1928 novel follows the adventures of the shapeshifting Macunaíma and his brothers as they leave their Amazon home for a whirlwind tour of Brazil, cramming four centuries and a continental expanse into a single mythic plane. Having lost a magic amulet, the hero and his brothers journey to São Paulo to retrieve the talisman that has fallen into the hands of an Italo-Peruvian captain of industry (who is also a cannibal giant). Written over six delirious days—the fruit of years of study—Macunaíma magically synthesizes dialect, folklore, anthropology, mythology, flora, fauna, and pop culture to examine Brazilian identity. This brilliant translation by Katrina Dodson has been many years in the making and includes an extensive section of notes, providing essential context for this magnificent work.
To describe Macunaíma as sui generis would hardly scratch the surface.
— Ratik Asokan, 4Columns
Macunaíma is a self-consciously nation-founding novel that reads like a thick broth of painful historical truth, quoted myth, and irreducible pleasures. Rarely is so much pleasure given and pain revealed by overlapping languages.
— Arto Lindsay
An explosion of language… The obvious comparison for English speakers would be Ulysses, as an encyclopedia of styles, of language forms.
— Fredric Jameson
He’s an anti-hero hero, questioning and contradictory. Macunaíma is an emblem of the marvelous, metamorphosed into the errant question mark of his one-legged constellation. An anti-normative hero who points to a future, eventually more open, world.
— Haroldo de Campos
Mário wrote our Odyssey and, with a swing of his native club, created our classical hero and the national poetic idiom for the next fifty years.
— Oswald de Andrade
A deliberately provocative text, slangy, comical, antiliterary, assuming all the apparent contradictions of the struggle against European seriousness in its various forms.
— Pascale Casanova
We are so fortunate that Mário de Andrade’s rollicking Macunaíma is finally reappearing in English in Katrina Dodson’s dazzling translation.
— John Keene
Macunaíma is a miracle. There’s nothing like it in all of literature. Katrina Dodson is a hero.
— Mario Bellatin
Macunaíma is above all a vision of mythical Brazilian consciousness, a picaresque epic of birth, triumph, decline and death.
— The New York Times
One of our sacred books, whose name we dare speak only on our knees.
— César Aira
A dazzling and chaotic Luso-tropical Holy Grail epic. … Through Dodson's masterful work, Andrade will finally be widely read alongside Joyce, Woolf, and Kafka.
— Meg Weeks, The Baffler
Electrifying and perplexing, this cornerstone of Brazilian literature shouldn’t be missed.