INFERNO

May 24, 2009

Inferno by Patricia Melo. About a boy, Kingie, in Rio living in a favela who aspires to work for Miltão, who runs the drug traffic in Berimbau.

If you enjoyed City of God you should read this book. It’s a different story, more intense, and sadly it’s based on the reality of living in the favela where there’s an ongoing civil war where more people are getting killed than in the Iraqi war. I was so caught up by the story that I’ve taken a break from reading it. I’m hoping for a good ending but I’m not expecting it.

Kingie, who lives with his mother and sister, has no interest in going to school, instead he starts working for Miltão as a lookout boy. When his mum, who work as a maid for an upper-class family, finds out she demands Miltão to stay out of her boy’s life so he can go back to school. That’s when Kingie faces drug addiction at the age of 11, doing whatever it takes to get his next fix.

The book also follows the lives of the people around Kingie. Carolaine, his sister who gets pregnant before turning 15. Alzira, his mother. Dona Juliana, his mother’s boss who’s having an affair. Beautiful Suzana, his neighbour and Miltão’s girlfriend. Fake, Reader, Kelly, Walmir, Onofre, Rosa Maria.

It’s a story about hope, survival, love, loyalty and misery. It’s an inside story, so captivating and it already feels like the best book I’ve read so far in my young life.

It’s the kind of book that probably has an impact on the way people think and possibly change attitudes.

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