Invisibles by Ed Siegle
Cost: £5.80 from Amazon
Ed Siegle is a British writer who lives in Brighton with his wife and two children. He grew up in Yeovil near Somerset and is the author of Invisibles, one of the finest books I have ever read.
The protagonist, Joel Burns lives in Brighton, is half Brazilian and is searching for the truth about his father, who he believes died when he was a boy. So I, being adopted from Brazil, not knowing my biological father and living in Brighton, was immediately drawn to story. On the surface it’s a tale of one man trying to find his father and lay his demons to rest. However it is far more cerebral, entertaining, visceral and quite frankly beautiful.
Siegle seamlessly spans decades of Brazilian culture and history while creating meaningful and intriguing characters. He creates a plot that meticulously details Joel’s life and gets deep into the minds of his mother, his lover and his friends. It takes two very different yet very similar ‘seaside’ cities and creates a bridge between them, as Joel leaves Brighton and heads to Rio de Janeiro. This is an exciting and heartfelt modern thriller that leaves you wanting more with page.
The reader is shown the gritty, surreal and passionate sides of Brazil from Bossa Nova to the Candelária Massacre. It certainly helps if you know some Brazilian-Portuguese or have visited the country but I find the casual and confident use of Siegle’s references charming. He also provides a superb list of sources that shows professionalism and adds a certain panache to his well researched and sensitive subject matter.
I don’t wish to give much more away but this novel must be discovered and enjoyed by each person wise and appreciative enough to buy a copy. Think City of God meets João Gilberto!