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The Farm on the River of Emeralds by Moritz…
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The Farm on the River of Emeralds

by Moritz Thomsen

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» See also 12 mentions

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This is a brave and interesting book. And more than being about one man's venture into farming, or even into Ecuador, it is about poverty, about clashing cultures, and about coming to grips with one's own delusions and prejudices. And, at the same time, it is beautiful, horrifying, and humorous--in many cases, all in the same moment.

Although Thomsen's voice might sometimes cause readers to cringe at his nonchalant admissions of prejudice and expectation, the book is both a product of its times and all the more worthwhile because of these same moments. The author's struggle to not only survive in Ecuador as a farmer, but to enmesh himself in the surrounding culture and to understand the poverty and people surrounding him, is a study in identity and helplessness--and ultimately, it's a window into the difficulty of reconciling clashing cultures, totally divergent backgrounds, and separate value systems.

The reader who is first brought to the book by adventure and the beauty of Ecuador's landscape will appreciate it for these things, but find themselves tortured along with Thomsen by the heartbreaking poverty and, even more so, the men and women trapped within it. And yet, then, there is the beauty of the appreciation for a single moment--because the present and any joy it can bring is so much more valuable than what is certain to be a painful future--and this single-minded focus, this ability to focus on what Is good in a world that seems mostly bad, allows for a book which is itself split between optimism and cynicism, and which is all the more worthwhile because of it.

Absolutely recommended. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Dec 30, 2016 |
In the end, “The Saddest Pleasure” is an extended trip into one man’s experience. We are witness to every emotion, from anguish to rage, that has ended up shaping his adult world view. It isn’t always a pretty sight, and it ends with a vision of the future that is as shattering as it seems cynical. But as any fan of Thomsen will tell you, he renders that vision as beautifully as anyone ever has.
 
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