Bonjour my cookies,
Regarding “Red Brazil”, I finally made it on schedule, and I have to say that I have enjoyed the book quite a lot. Not only because of the adventures of the main characters, but also because I find it very well documented in the historic facts that the book describes; it introduces some interesting things I didn’t know: the (early) influence of France in Rio, the beginnings of colonialism in Brazil and I had no idea about the religion wars in France.
I think that the author makes a nice blend of characters (real and fictitious) to introduce an interesting moment of time in history. He is describing at the same time the boat trips (boring as they were, as Arantxa said :), the situation of the “indians”, the miseries bore by the colonizers and even the situation in Europe.
The end of the book is rather surprising: I expected the two main characters to go back to Europe and recuperate their inheritance. I expected Villegagnon to come back and a hard fight against the Portuguese. But the author seems to be wise enough to avoid this kind of fanfare and to give an unexpected but realistic end (not the typical fight based in blood, honor and patriotism that are abundant in so many books/films). I find the epilogue also interesting, although not as deep as the one in the book “Adan’s parfum”. It’s been nice to learn that many of the characters are real.
I have to say that I have not been disappointed by the book, I find it entertaining, interesting and well written (although I expected more in this last regard, mainly because of the Goncourt prize -BTW Monica, which one is this year's?-). I have found myself looking for Villegagnon Island in Google Maps (it still exists!) or reading about religion wars or Calvin in wikipedia.
My predictions were partly true only: I have realized that the two main characters were not brother and sister, but I failed to see that their father was indeed dead. That’s why I’m not rich on the lottery! J
Hope you have enjoyed the book as I did, and looking forward for your comments!