January 29, 2008

The Devil to Pay in the Backlands

Looking at this object I can tell Joao Guimaraes Rosa (excuse the lack of accents) was obviously well-loved by Alfred Knopf. Knopf himself is credited with the author photo, and check out the gorgeous decorations on the spine and front of the book. The whole package is just stunning -- publishing done right!

Robert Nedelkoff mentions in the comments on the Neglected Books site post that New Directions has plans to reprint The Devil to Pay in the Backlands. Please God do it.

If you are searching for this book, I'd suggest waiting for the reprint. This edition goes for hundreds of dollars at the moment. As far as I know, it was never available in paperback.

This post (along with the post below about A Life Full of Holes etc.) completes my scans of titles on "the list." My standard spiel about the list: Brad, the editor of the great Neglected Books site [neglectedbooks.com], posted an annotated list of 20 out-of-print books I made in June of 2000 (a list which helped me get a job in publishing). He added links to all the book titles. I'm going to post images of the books discussed (if I still have them). The permanent link for the list on Neglected Books. View all my posts about the list here.

The spine under the dustjacket:
Decoration from front panel:

Jaguar and Other Stories


  1. One of the best books ever written in Portuguese. :-)

  2. I would say THE best book in portuguese... and one of the best in the whole world...

  3. I have a monstrous curiosity to have this book in English.
    It is, it has a peculiar language. Not is a easy book even to a Brasilian.
    Not is like a Jorge Amado's book, that contain many regionalism but you can do a idea about because the description.
    Guimarães Rosa is all Sertão (Backlands) in this book, starting by the language. So I am curious about how is this in English.

    You have a good work in this blog. Congratulations!

  4. Yes, this is one of the best books in Portuguese (and i wouldn't say for sure it is THE best because of many other excellent books from Rosa). I've read them all, and even for brasilians, as said above, it is a difficult read. But no spiritual journey is easy.

  5. This book really hit me. I was so much into it that when i finished it, all 600 pages, i directly started to read it all over again. It is my all time favorite.
    I read it in Dutch.

    Saar from the Netherlands.

  6. http://thedeviltopayinthebacklands.wordpress.com/