The Apprentice Tourist

The Apprentice Tourist


'My life's done a somersault,' wrote acclaimed modernist writer Mário de Andrade. After years of dreaming about Amazonia, he finally embarked on a three-month odyssey up the great river and into the wild heart of his native Brazil with a group of avant-garde luminaries. All abandoned ship but a socialite, her two nieces, and, of course, the author himself. And so begins the humorous account of Andrade's steamboat adventure into one of the most dangerous and breathtakingly beautiful corners of the world.

Rife with shrewd observations and sparkling wit, his sarcastic, down-to-earth diary entries not only offer comedic and awe-inspiring details of life and the landscape but also trace his internal metamorphosis: his travels challenge what he thought he knew about the Amazon, and drastically alter his understanding of his motherland.


  • Extraordinary encounters with indigenous communities, some partially real and others completely falsified, yet always well and truly beyond belief . . . in the process of mythmaking . . . the country of Andrade’s imagination became more vivid, more alive
    David McAllister, Prospect

About the author

Mário de Andrade

Mário de Andrade (1893-1945) was a Brazilian writer, born in São Paulo, best known for the gleefully anarchic rhapsody Macunaíma, the Hero with No Character (1928). A polymath of his era, he was trained as a musician but became equally influential in fiction, poetry, photography, and art criticism. He served as the founding director of São Paulo's Department of Culture and helped organize and participated in the Semana de Arte Moderna (Week of Modern Art) in 1922, an event that would be central to the birth of modernism in Brazil. A key thread of Andrade's work involved the recognition and preservation of Afro-Brazilian cultures and traditions.
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