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Formats
Paperback Details
  • 11/2014
  • 0-9913372-3-9
  • 264 pages
  • $15.99
Kindle Edition eBooks Details
  • 11/2014
  • B00PYI46LC
  • 264 pages
  • $5.99
To Belém & Back: Backroads Brazil with my Black Lab

Adult; Memoir; (Market)

Novelist Ben Batchelder abandoned a cozy corporate career and, instead of returning to the U.S. like a normal re-pat, moved deep into the interior of Brazil. Here, he drives his two-wheel drive station wagon into the Amazon, on the notoriously dangerous Belém-Brasília highway, and back along Brazil’s endless Atlantic Coast, on roads few if any Brazilians brave. Hence the need for such a ferocious breed as Labrador: for protection. Along the way, humorous encounters with countless locals help him to plumb Brazilian culture and history, in many aspects the flip-side of the American experience, and reveal how he fell in love with Brazil’s beguiling warmth in the first place – along with black Labs.

Reviews
Batchelder (Borderlands USA), an American who lives for part of the year in Brazil, provides an insightful and poignant account of his “long, circuitous roadtrip” from his home in southern Brazil to Belem in the north, accompanied by his loyal Labrador retriever, Atlas. As the author notes, “travel is often an excuse to accomplish something else,” and his journey had multiple motives. In the wake of a failed marriage to a Brazilian native, “home continues to be the last place” where he feels welcome, and he is plagued by doubts as to whether he should continue to live in Brazil. Batchelder tells himself that such a journey, even on a route notorious for its dangers, could also provide him with a deeper understanding of the country’s paradoxes. As in the very best travelogues, the author seamlessly combines the personal, the political, and the cultural. He also adds the philosophical, via thought-provoking reflections on topics such as whether countries always get the governments they deserve, and the nature of his responsibility for the “haphazard” journey that is his own life. (BookLife)
William deBuys, author of "The Last Unicorn" and "River of Traps"

“If you are looking for a primer on big, brash Brazil, this lovely book is for you. In it, Batchelder takes a journey of discovery with his black Lab, traveling the country’s interior and encountering its culture, history, and colorful people. I don’t know of another travel essayist on Brazil who knows the country so intimately. His wry and funny encounters, often provoked by the novelty of a pet dog, remind one of Steinbeck and his Charley. Saudades!”

Zach Wallmark, PhD, Musicologist and Editor, Neil A. Kjos Music Publishing Co.

“Watch out for the potholes! Enough of an outsider to succumb to fearless wanderlust in a dangerous land, enough of an insider to know better, Batchelder is that rarest breed of travel narrator: part intrepid adventurer, part cultural interpreter, full-time storyteller.  Taking the reader on a rich, startling odyssey of modern Brazil, To Belém & Back is told with consummate verve, a sly wit, and sumptuous detail of character and place.  You’ll find yourself booking a flight – and a car rental – before the tale ends.

“The writing is such a pleasure: vivid, witty, evocative, and erudite. A rare combination!”

News
10/16/2016
Harvard reading & Q&A

Author reads from To Belém & Back, presents a short film, and takes question at the Signet Society, Harvard's premier literary & arts society since 1870.

06/17/2016
Miami Beach reading and screening

A reading of To Belém & Back in the state-side cradle of its creation, plus film screening of Tiradentes2Belém.

09/15/2015
NYC and Boston readings of To Belém & Back

Aproximately 50 people attend launches/readings in the West Village, Brookline, and Windchester, MA.  Black Lab steals show.

11/07/2015
To Belém & Back regional launch, Tiradentes, Brazil


Multi-faceted local launch, including photo exhibit, film debut, and book launch

06/15/2015
US Launch of To Belém & Back in Coral Gables, FL

Mega-launch in Coral Gables Museum, Coral Gables, FL

03/04/2016
Wolfsonian Musuem book event, Miami Beach, FL

The Wolf Book Club hosted a packed event which included discussion, reading, and the US debut of the film “Tiradentes2 Belém”

05/07/2016
Zeno steals show at Santa Fe, NM book reading

The Travel Bug and Earthdog Press hosted a lovely event with a great turnout, double of that a year ago.  Thanks to all! 

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 11/2014
  • 0-9913372-3-9
  • 264 pages
  • $15.99
Kindle Edition eBooks Details
  • 11/2014
  • B00PYI46LC
  • 264 pages
  • $5.99

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