Saga of Brutes draws together three confronting and darkly stories: Between Dog Fights and Pig Slaughter, The Dirty Work of Others, and carbo animalis, published in one volume for the first time. Ana Paula Maia's no-holds-barred narrative pulls few punches, describing the shocking reality of the lives of the invisible workingmen who, like Atlas, are forced to carry society's burdens. These heroes of vile circumstance-coal miners, firemen, garbage collectors, crematorium workers-are the soot-covered supermen who risk their lives performing difficult and dangerous work for others. But in the end, they, too, amount to nothing but carbo animalis-notwithstanding the impure relation of coal to diamonds. Despite their straightforwardness, Ana Paula Maia's stories are filled with great insight and compassion for the lives of the men who live on the edge of a society built with their own sweat.
A sense of duty seems to be the main thing distinguishing man from beast in these three long, thematically linked stories, the first of the Brazilian novelist's work to be published in America. * Kirkus Reviews *