Books
5:34 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

A Brazilian Writer's Love Letter To Rio De Janeiro

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 6:55 pm

While NPR's Melissa Block is in Brazil, we'll be showcasing the work of several Brazilian writers. Today: Tatiana Salem Levy, whose short story "Blazing Sun" was featured in the literary magazine Granta. Levy splits her time between Rio de Janeiro, where she's spent most of her life, and Lisbon, where she was born. She calls "Blazing Sun," which is excerpted below, her love letter to Rio.

"Few things are more beautiful than the instants that precede momentous things, the second before a passionate kiss, before a marathon runner crosses the finish line, before a rainstorm hits Rio de Janeiro.

"Before the water comes crashing down, Rio teems with activity, people make a frantic dash for it, birds disperse in a flurry, cockroaches scurry, monkeys leap from branch to branch, all seeking shelter, a roof of any kind. The city suddenly begins to palpitate when the humidity reaches an unsustainable level, when you know that the hot, heavy, sticky weather is about to come undone in a downpour. And if you are lucky enough to be somewhere safe, you will soon see nature's strength unleashed, supreme, reminding us of how fragile and fleeting we are."

Click here to read the rest of "Blazing Sun."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This week, while our co-host Melissa Block is in Brazil, we thought we'd showcase a couple of Brazilian writers. Today: Tatiana Salem Levy, whose short story "Blazing Sun" was featured in the literary magazine Granta. Levy splits her time between Rio de Janeiro, where she's spent most of her life; and Lisbon, where she was born. Here she is reading from "Blazing Sun," which she calls a love letter to Rio.

TATIANA SALEM LEVY: (Speaking foreign language)

CATHERINE OSBORNE: (Reading translation) Few things are more beautiful than the instants that precede momentous things: the second before a passionate kiss, before a marathon runner crosses the finish line, before a rainstorm hits Rio de Janeiro.

LEVY: (Speaking foreign language)

OSBORNE: (Reading translation) Before the water comes crashing down, Rio teems with activity. People make a frantic dash for it. Birds disperse in a flurry. Cockroaches scurry. Monkeys leap from branch to branch, all seeking shelter, a roof of any kind.

LEVY: (Speaking foreign language)

OSBORNE: (Reading translation) The city suddenly begins to palpitate when the humidity reaches an unsustainable level; when you know that the hot, heavy, sticky weather is about to come undone in a downpour.

LEVY: (Speaking foreign language)

OSBORNE: (Reading translation) If you're lucky enough to be somewhere safe, you will soon see nature's strength unleashed supreme, reminding us of how fragile and fleeting we are.

SIEGEL: Brazilian writer Tatiana Salem Levy, reading from her short story "Blazing Sun." The translation was read by Catherine Osborne.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.