The Diary of Helena Morley

From Elizabeth Bishop’s introduction: ‘When I first came to Brazil, in 1952, I asked my Brazilian friends which Brazilian books I should begin reading ... They frequently recommended this little book, “Minha Vida de Menina” ... In English the title means “My Life as a Little Girl” or “Young Girl”, and that is exactly what the book is about, but it is not reminiscences; it is a diary, the diary actually kept by a little girl between the ages of 12 and 15, in the far-off town of Diamantina, in 1893-1895 ... The more I read the book the better I liked it. The scenes and events it described were odd, remote, and long ago, and yet fresh, sad, funny and eternally true. The longer I stayed on in Brazil the more Brazilian the book seemed, yet much of it could have happened in any small provincial town or village, and at almost any period of history – at least before the arrival of the automobile and the moving-picture theatre

Blog posts, bestseller lists, reading guides and updates from the collective staff of the London Review Bookshop.

Speaking as a single entity isn't always straightforward; each of our booksellers takes pride in their eclectic reading tastes, their specific areas of expertise and their personal literary foibles. We've had some vehement disagreements about Dickens and nobody can agree on who should have won the Booker Prize. But ...

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