Bolero de Ravel em Nova Roma, a novel written by the Brazilian journalist and writer Geraldo Muanis, landed in my hands as a gift from the author, a friend with whom I had the happy opportunity of working together in my days as a journalist in Juiz de Fora, our hometown. Life soon led us on different paths. By luck or merit, our friendship had the power to not only overcome distance but also stand the test of time.
Many years went by until we would meet again for a coffee, a few months ago during a brief visit I made back home. We caught up, reassuring that our hug could still be tight and once again we said goodbye to one another, assuring that “friendship is a love that never dies”, as wisely spoken by the poet Mário Quintana. I waved goodbye to my friend and from that encounter, I kept the image of someone who neither time nor pain or achievements had the power to change. In addition, a little big treasure: two of his most recent novels.
Firstly, I thought that, given our friendship, there was no way for me to make an unbiased review of his books, as it should have been. But as soon as I finished half of ‘Bolero de Ravel em Nova Roma‘, my decision was already taken. YEAH, to hell the critics in charge, but at least I will make a (very personal) analysis of this narrative for my blog. Thus, this post was born, from an old friendship, a sweet re-encounter, a love that does not die, a book where Muanis borrows fiction to show reality or perhaps only to highlight the overlap of both.
Any resemblance to reality is pure coincidence
Bolero de Ravel em Nova Roma (Ravel’s bolero in New Rome, in free translation) is a dynamic work that blurs the boundary between fiction and reality. It took me on a trip down memory lane, bringing flashbacks from the behind-the-scenes of journalism, besides it made me feel nostalgic about a time of fellowship in the newspaper and press offices that will never come back again. It also recalled in my mind facts buried by time as well as telling me about other ones unimaginable to me, in which it’s possible to recognize some characters and places, so fictional yet so real. Shuffling through the past only to find the present.
I’m not saying that this book is directed to a specific audience. Absolutely not! Everyone will find that it worth reading. It’s a well-written story that exposes the deep visions within the author and of his surroundings. Muanis shows himself critical, creative, and sensible, and also got me to laugh out loud with the “story” about Mickey (to know it, buy the book!). From his experience, he knows that life is made by moments, and living is seizing the magical ones that are gifted to us, while the world turns to the pace of the media and political interests which, to perpetuate power, support a vicious cycle similar to a hamster wheel.
A perverse version of Ravel’s symphony as he defines it and adds: “I hope the French composer Maurice Ravel does not turn in his grave due to this perverted version, in the form of evil, within a dissonant structure that never changes. The pace alternate like a political seesaw, for twenty, thirty, forty years, with always the same chanting, always the same lies and promises. And nothing changes.” According to Muanis, the sublime Bolero by Ravel with its recurring notes at the end takes us to ecstasy which regrettably does not happen in Nova Roma.
“In Nova Roma, the symphony acquires an unsettling and innocuous sameness, under the satanic and repetitive pace of embezzlement and corruption. Always with the same circus, but each day with less bread. And the future never comes,” he complains. It should be immediately pointed out that any reference to existing people or facts is certainly a product of your imagination.
Geraldo Muanis was born on July 18th, 1959, in Juiz de Fora, a city of about 500 thousand inhabitants located in South-East Brazil. He graduated from the Federal University of Juiz de Fora and has worked in various local press offices and newspapers such as Tribuna de Minas, Tribuna da Tarde, Panorama and JFHoje. He has already published several books, among them the novel ‘Sinfonia solitária em Dor-Maior’, ‘Se você souber, os olhos não mentem’, ‘Os últimos dias de Nova Roma’,’Teu corpo é uma estátua que gira no centro de minha mente’ and ‘Histórias REAIS que Nossas Babás não Contavam’, available on Amazon.
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