James Scudamore's second novel, Heliopolis,
(after The Amnesia Clinic
) is a strikingly vivid and well-written story about Ludwig (Ludo) Aparecido dos Santos, a man who was born in one of São Paulo's largest favelas
, or shantytowns, and shortly thereafter "rescued" along with his mother from its impoverished lifestyle by the wealthy and somewhat slimy character, Zé Fischer Carnicelli and his philanthropist wife Rebecca. Ludo's mother is hired as a cook at the Carnicellis' weekend home in the Brazilian countryside, a place where Ludo develops a taste for good food and the freedom of the outdoors. He also begins to cultivate his love for Melissa, Zé's daughter. As Ludo grows up and eventually comes to be adopted by the Carnicelli family, their differences in socio-economic status become undeniable, and his relationship to everyone around him...
Beyond the Book
In his novel Heliopolis
, James Scudamore candidly describes the favelas
of Brazil as poor shantytown communities; "from a distance, you can't imagine anyone living in such a place: the area has the chaotic texture of a landfill site, a rubbish dump
dense thickets of unofficial power lines; walls and roofs of remaindered breeze-block and stolen brick and found-iron sheeting and repurposed doors; structures that should never work but somehow do because they must". His descriptions are by no means exaggerated. Favelas
are often populated by people who illegally occupy lands on the outskirts of Brazil's larger cities such as São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Homes are made from scrap materials and frequently lack...