BRAZIL on TWITTER
An Epic Twist on a Spellbinding Saga
Brazil on Twitter — An Epic Twist on a Spellbinding Saga
Boston writer Errol Lincoln Uys faces a staggering task: He is tweeting his 340,000-word novel Brazil in 140-character tweets or less for his followers on the social network.
Brazil is the first national epic micro-blogged on Twitter, each tiny “episode” contributing to daily installments of 20 to 50 tweets. The novel’s Twitter address is @BrazilANovel
Uys (the name is pronounced “Ace”) is no stranger to monumental labors. Before writing Brazil, he worked with the late James A. Michener on The Covenant, the story of South Africa. Brazil is the first work of fiction to depict five centuries of that nation’s remarkable history told through the exploits of two Brazilian families.
The Twitter edition of Brazil couldn’t be more different than Uys’s original manuscript: He wrote it by hand, all 2,454 pages, his work taking five years, including a 20,000-kilometre trip by bus through Brazil. First published by Simon & Schuster, the internationally-acclaimed Brazil is also available in print and on Kindle. Uys’s readers can access a free online illustrated guide to Brazil, as well as his Brazilian journals and personal writing notes.
“It’s going to take 24,000 tweets, a year or two of tweeting,” says Uys. “Thanks be that I write short sentences!”
Brazil has been called “A Masterpiece – a totally new and original world for the reader-explorer to discover (L’Express, Paris.);” “Uys accomplished what no Brazilian author was able to do – Descriptions evoke the grand passages of War and Peace. (Jornal do Brasil);” “Uys recreates history entirely at ‘ground level,’ through the eyes and actions of an awesome cast of characters. (Publishers Weekly)”
In the world of Twitter, Brazil is a totally new literary trail to explore one tweet at a time @BrazilANovel
Follow on @BrazilANovel
On the Web: Brazil, A Novel – The Epic of a Nation
Contact: erroluys (at) verizon.net
Alex Beam, Globe Columnist
March 5, 2010
Chronicles of the Great Books
I’ll say this for Boston: It is home to some wonderfully distinct personalities. The delightful amateur artist-professional investment adviser Geoff Hargadon, who achieved Internet fame with his “Somerville Gates’’ - an amusing parody of Christo’s “Gates’’ installation in Central Park, featuring Geoff’s cat - is circulating a spreadsheet documenting the real winners of the recently completed Winter Olympics. Geoff divided a country’s population by its medal haul, producing these top three per capita winners: Norway, Austria, and Slovenia. (You’ll be hearing more about tiny Slovenia when it upsets us this summer, in soccer’s World Cup.) On this scale, the United States and Russia placed 22d and 23d. So much for the chest-thumping.
Separately, Dorchester’s own Errol Lincoln Uys tells me he is now “tweeting’’ his epic, James Michener-esque
novel, “Brazil.’’ That means you can read his 800-page tome for free, from his website ErrolUys.com, in 140-character bursts, or about 24,000 discrete “tweets.’’ Heck, I’d rather read Ptolemy in the original Egyptian, sorry, Greek. I didn’t attend St. John’s and it shows.
A GUIDE TO THE MAKING OF THE NOVEL
[Links to the pages on the site]
I searched for the story of Brazil for five years, a literary pathfinder wandering in quest of the untold story of the Brazilians and their epic history.
these pages, I share my mighty journey of twenty thousand kilometers
across the length and breadth of Brazil in 1981. I traveled
through the heart of a nation in which the flame of freedom
was newly lit after years of military dictatorship, the journal
I kept colored by the voices and emotions of the era.
"I should like to know if Uys had an unpublished jornal
intime of a Brazilian family?"
When I began work on my novel I knew as little about Brazil as the next foreigner. I'd once stopped over at Rio de Janeiro for three days on a flight to Africa, an instant course in cliches of Carnival, samba, beach and jungle. I'd another impression that harked back to my South African childhood, when the country was still tied to England.
Every month there arrived from London an adventure magazine for boys, its pages filled with the glories of Empire and conquests of its heroes. Among them, explorer Percy Fawcett who was most often depicted in a tiny canoe paddling past the gaping jaws of an anaconda.
Colonel Fawcett went in search of a fabulous Lost City in Brazil and vanished
in Mato Grosso. The intrepid fortune hunter lived on in the imagination of boys like myself who scoffed at the idea that an Englishman had been killed by head-hunters and pictured our champion sitting on a golden throne in El Dorado.
My library forays in New York over three months in 1981 provided the background for my initial plotting and book proposal. With the outline complete and broad themes of the novel well in mind, it was essential to have firsthand experience of Portugal and Brazil. I couldn't go back five hundred years, but I could make a sincere and honest attempt to know the land and its people.
I was writing a novel not a history but was committed to offering as authentic and historically accurate account as possible. In April 1981, I headed for Lisbon and three months later began my journey in Brazil.
I based myself outside Lisbon at Sintra, living in a quinta on a hillside below Moorish battlements that overlooked Sintra Palace. I would use this setting for the family seat of the first Cavalcantis to go to Brazil .
Traveling 20,000 kilometers through Brazil, almost entirely by bus, I visited the Casa Grandes; the big fazendas; the splendid beachfront apartments; the glass and concrete wonder of Brasília - the new El Dorado!
walked the sands of Porto Seguro; I rejoiced in the atmosphere
of Bahia; I stood in silence between sepulchral hills at Canudos.
I climbed another hill, too, to gaze down on Vila Rica do Ouro
Preto and imagine the sculptor Aleijadinho moving along Vila
Rica's cobbled streets. I heard the muffled drum of tyranny
presaging the last act in the drama of Tiradentes, martyr of
To Amador, to his father, to all who traveled with them, there would be no expression more evocative, more meaningful than sertão... It started not beyond the next rise or across the river ahead but deep within the soul, a call to paradise or to hell...
I kept a two hundred page journal on my four-month expedition across the length and breadth of Brazil. The scrawl on some pages vividly brings to mind a motorista, a bus driver, hanging on to the wheel as we sped through the caatingas. I remember triumphant cries of Asfalt! as we careened off a dirt road onto the hard-top. I remember glancing at a rear-view mirror and seeing a driver nodding off with half-closed eyes. The girl in the seat next to me on her way to join a nunnery began to pray.
a year on the move in Portugal and Brazil, I returned to the United
States to begin writing. In November 1981,I made a dismal entry
in the back of my Brazil travel journal:
a third and final entry:
Slave Market at Rio de Janeiro
Looking for an autographed print edition?