His name was Antonio, but they would call him Nem. From the infamous favela of Rocinha in Rio, he was a hardworking young father forced to make a decision that would turn his world upside down.
Nemesis is the story of an ordinary man who became the king of the largest slum in Rio, the head of a drug cartel and perhaps Brazil’s most wanted criminal. A man who tried to bring welfare and justice to a playground of gang culture and destitution while everyone around him drew guns and partied. It’s a captivating tale of gold hunters and evangelical pastors, bent police and rich-kid addicts, quixotic politicians and drug lords with maths degrees.
Spanning rainforests and high-security prisons, filthy slums and glittering shopping malls, this is also the story of how change came to Brazil. Of a country’s journey into the global spotlight and the battle for the beautiful but damned city of Rio as it struggles to break free from a tangled web of corruption, violence, drugs and poverty. With Nem at its centre, locked in a fight for his country’s future.
©2015 Misha Glenny (P)2015 Random House AudioBooks
The amount of research that the author must have done to produce such a vibrant picture of life in the favelas
The way the characters were brought to life
Using a professional actor
What a shame that the author narrates his own book. He tries hard and much of the narrative is well done but the voices are aweful. Nearly all the characters (crims, police, women, children) sound the same, as if they have learned their English from watching back episodes of EastEnders. I almost expected Nem, a tragic figure, to complain "Cor, luv a duck, the favelas ain't wot they used te be"
"The life of a gangster"
Yes! Although initially I did find Glenny's cockney accents put on the gangsters a bit irritating. This is supposed to be Brazil, not the East End! Anyway that minor criticism aside, I found the narration very clear and well read throughout.
I'm not sure I actually had a favourite character exactly. I didn't find myself completing warming to Nem, the main charachter. He is after all a drug trafficker and a womaniser, but what does shine through about him is that he is/was an exceptional leader.
Although it ended sadly, I enjoyed the part about Nem's pet monkey and how the monkey would sit on Nem's shoulder and had a little hat!
I was moved especially by the beginning when you see a young newly married man struggling to afford to pay for the health care of his sick daughter, living in a slum, and not sure where to turn. The point where a man named Antonio begins his journey from respectable citizen to Don of the Hill was quite emotive, what would any of us do in such a situation?
This is an interesting book. I felt at times like I was actually there in Rocinha, the favela Nem was don of. Misha Glenny's descriptions of the place are very good. It is a very candid history of a place and a leader. It doesn't shout the praises of Nem nor point out all that is bad about him. It is very balanced and fair account in that regard. However, I didn't find myself being blown away by this book, or shocked in anyway. It is what it is, the story of a gangster in a slum in Rio De Janeiro. Sometimes I felt a bit bored with the pointless violence and drug pushing, however, sometimes it felt as entertaining as if I where watching a hollywood action movie! I am also now a bit more aware of the colourful history of Brazilian politics, which I suppose I can count as another positive.
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