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The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao

av Martha Batalha

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
11719186,330 (3.69)18
Euridice is young, beautiful, and ambitious, but when her rebellious sister Guida elopes, she sets her own aspirations aside and vows to settle down as a model wife and daughter. And yet as her husband's professional success grows, so does Euridice's feeling of restlessness. She embarks on a series of secret projects, from creating recipe books to becoming the most sought-after seamstress in town--but each is doomed to failure. Her tradition-loving husband is not interested in an independent wife. And then one day Guida appears at the door with her young son and a terrible story of hardship and abandonment.… (mer)
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I had wanted to read this book for years. I forgot how I came upon this book but it sounded like a fun read. Euridice is a woman in Rio de Janeiro during the 1940's who watches her sister Guida run off and elope. So Euridice settles down, gets married and lives her life with husband and family. But Guida returns one day with a sad tale.

Or, something like that. It started off very well, talking about Euridice's life and times, marriage and eventually setting into family life. And then the book kind of goes off the rails, then detailing Guida's life and the lives of other family members. As other reviews note, there is no plot, really (I thought somehow there would be some big deal about the sisters reuniting or they go off and have an adventure or something) but overall the book just kind of drifted.

I guess it was really supposed to be more about the lives of housewives in Rio during this time period but in the end I'm not really sure what invisible life we were supposed to be observing or that Euridice missed, etc. Would say this is definitely a book that would probably make for an amazing miniseries adaptation if it hasn't been already.

Borrowed from the library and that was definitely best. ( )
  HoldMyBook | Jul 20, 2020 |
Rio de Janeiro, anni quaranta. Quartiere di Tijuca. Bellissima e ribelle, Guida è fuggita di casa per coronare il proprio sogno d’amore con il rampollo di una famiglia che si opponeva al fidanzamento. Mentre Eurídice, la sorella, figlia modello rimasta a consolare i genitori, è una moglie devota e attenta, salvo poi, di tanto in tanto, lanciarsi in qualche bizzarro progetto. Ma ogni sua iniziativa è destinata al fallimento. La società carioca non è ancora pronta per dare spazio alle donne intraprendenti e nessun uomo è interessato ad avere una moglie che pensa. Finché, un giorno, Guida si presenta alla porta della sorella. Infelice e sventurata, è disposta a tutto per sopravvivere. Sullo sfondo di una città che brulica di vita, si dipana il rocambolesco percorso di emancipazione delle due sorelle. Perché ogni grande rivoluzione comincia sempre tra le mura domestiche.
  kikka62 | Feb 20, 2020 |
For many years, the work of women, the unpaid work that they did or do, has been invisible. There is, of course, the old joke that a husband comes home from work one day and sees that the house is a mess, the kids are running rampant, and there's no dinner waiting for him because his wife has taken to heart that he thinks she does "nothing" all day long and so has decided to live up to his belief and therefore has actually done nothing that day. It's a scenario that makes a point very clearly. He never saw the work she did until the day she chose not to do it. Her work, important as it was, was invisible until it was left undone. Martha Batalha's novel The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao comes from this same place of women's work and lives being invisible unless they buck what society expects of them.

Euridice marries her husband Antenor because that is what is expected of her. She will become a housewife and mother in 1940s Rio. And she plays her role but she doesn't embrace it or truly enjoy it. Instead she spends a long time looking for her purpose in life within the societal constraints placed on her. Before her marriage she was an exceptional recorder player. The hope of a musical life had to go by the wayside as she married and became a mother. Then she learned to cook exotic and impressive dishes. But that wasn't her calling either, and unusual foods didn't please her children or her husband. Then she taught herself to sew and became quite an accomplished seamstress, dressing first herself and then neighborhood women. But her husband objected to her working from home. Finally she becomes an author, tickety tapping away on her typewriter, either destined for greatness or for obscurity as she retells the story of her life. She is a determined and intelligent woman who finds her prescribed role boring. Her beautiful sister Guida took a different, less conventional path through life but she cannot tell her story completely any more than Euridice could live her story completely as she wanted even after she came back to the path society required of her.

This is very much a domestic novel filled with quirky, often frustrated characters. Euridice is strong, flexible, and yearning as a a character. She absorbs the disappointments of her life, which are all of the spiritual variety rather than the physical disappointments and trials her sister weathers, as best she can while still being a woman of her time. She is different in her striving for more, in her quest to be seen, and sometimes that opens her up to gossip and innuendo from others but she perseveres in creating in herself the accomplished and fulfilled woman she needs to be. No matter where she is in her journey to herself, she remains a sympathetic character. The novel definitely has the feel of contemporary South American literature, a certain sensibility that comes through tying it to a long tradition of Latinx writing. Quite character driven, this novel is an interesting and insightful look at the life and dreams of one eccentric mid-twentieth century Brazilian woman as she becomes visible to her family, her neighbors, and most importantly, to herself. ( )
  whitreidtan | Dec 9, 2018 |
The Invisible Life of Euridice Guomao is a delightful novel by Brazilian author Martha Batalha that tells the story of Euridice, a fiercely intelligent and motivated girl growing up in the middle of the last century in Rio. She's an obedient girl and once she has been convinced that her only goal is to be a good housewife and mother, she falls into line, marrying well, having children, supervising her housekeeper. But there's something inside of Euridice that can't remain entirely passive.

Euridice is such a wonderful character and Batalha's writing (and Eric B. Becker's translation) made the reading of this novel so much fun. I'm looking forward to more from this talented new author. ( )
  RidgewayGirl | Sep 6, 2018 |
No. This book was not for me. It's not just that I'm a man either, although I can see that it is very much written for women. I actually enjoy "women's" fiction more than the traditional male stories.There are many books that I read which I reckon are very well written, but just aren't for me, but I don't even see the literary merit in this book. The fact that it does appeal to many people suggests that it's *my* problem. Anyway, I used the Nancy Pearl Rule of 50 to bring this experiment to an early close. ( )
  oldblack | May 7, 2018 |
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Euridice is young, beautiful, and ambitious, but when her rebellious sister Guida elopes, she sets her own aspirations aside and vows to settle down as a model wife and daughter. And yet as her husband's professional success grows, so does Euridice's feeling of restlessness. She embarks on a series of secret projects, from creating recipe books to becoming the most sought-after seamstress in town--but each is doomed to failure. Her tradition-loving husband is not interested in an independent wife. And then one day Guida appears at the door with her young son and a terrible story of hardship and abandonment.

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