The Collector of Leftover Souls
Field Notes on Brazil's Everyday Insurrections
Eliane Brum, Diane Grosklaus Whitty
Longlisted for the National Book Award for Translated Literature
Urgent investigative essays covering a wide range of humanity in Brazil, from the Amazon to the favelas
Eliane Brum is a star journalist in Brazil, known for her polyphonic writing that gives voice to people often underrepresented in popular literature. Brum’s reporting takes her into Brazil’s most marginalized communities: she visits the Amazon to understand the practice of indigenous midwives, stays in São Paulo’s favelas to witness the joy of a marriage and the tragedy of young men dying due to drugs and guns, and wades through the mud to capture the boom and bust of modern-day gold rushes. Brum is an enormously sensitive and perceptive interlocutor, and as she visits these places she provides intimate glimpses into both everyday and extraordinary lives: a poor father on the way to bury his son, a street performer who eats glass, a woman living out her final 115 days, and a hoarder rescuing the “leftover souls” of the city.
The Collector of Leftover Souls showcases the best of Brum’s work from two books, combining short profiles with longer reported pieces. These vibrant missives range across current issues such as the human cost of exploiting natural resources, the Belo Monté Dam’s eradication of a way of life for those on the banks of the Xingu River, and the contrast between urban centers and remote villages. Told in the vibrant and idiomatic language of the people Brum writes about, The Collector of Leftover Souls is a vital work of investigative journalism from an internationally acclaimed author.