Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Heliopolis

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by James Scudamore

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  • Paperback:
    Oct 2010, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Elena Spagnolie

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About this Book

Beyond the Book

Brazil's Favelas
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 electricity, running water, and proper sanitation, leading to increasing health problems as well.

The rampant expansion of favelas can be associated with the unequal distribution of wealth in Brazil. According to Oxfam, "Brazil is one ...

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