PUBLISHERS OF LITERARY FICTION SINCE 1983
Where Tigers are at Home is a large-scale (approx 265,000 words in translation) multi-strand novel set in Brazil. The strands are interwoven through the central figure Eléazard von Wogau, a French foreign correspondent living in Alcântara, a town in the north-east of Brazil; they also vary widely in style and content:
• his divorced wife Elaine, a geologist, takes part in a scientific expedition to the Mato Grosso which is attacked by drug traffickers; some members are killed, Elaine and others set off on a trek through the uncharted jungle;
• his daughter, Moéma, is a student in São Luís, a drug addict, with an interest in native tribes; she takes part in the local ‘beach culture’ where she has an affair with an Indio; she also meets.
• Nelson, a young handicapped boy from the favela; his father was killed in an accident in the local steel works, at which he was immediately evicted from their tied home; he vows vengeance on the owner:
• Colonel Moreira, the corrupt governor of the region who is involved in shady property deals for a large-scale development which will involve expelling locals from their territory.
Each of these strands has its own interest, though they do gradually merge towards the end in the action around the governor, his wife and Nelson’s revenge. The other unifying factor in the book is the figure of the early 17th century scholar, Athanasius Kircher, a remarkable polymath interested in all branches of contemporary knowledge and technology. As a student, von Wogau had a special interest in Kircher; now he has been sent a biography to edit and each of the 32 chapters of Where Tigers are at Home starts with a section from it.