Regina Rheda is a contemporary award-winning Brazilian writer whose original voice and style have won her many admirers. First World Third Class and Other Tales of the Global Mix presents some of her finest and most representative work to an English-speaking readership. Stories from the Copan Building consists of eight tales set in a famous residential building in São Paulo. The stories, like the apartment complex, are a microcosm of modern-day urban Brazil. They are witty, consistently caustic, and never predictable.
Also in this volume is the poignant and often hilarious novel First World Third Class. It depicts young middle-class professionals and artists who, as opportunities in Brazil diminished, opted to leave their country, even if it meant taking menial jobs abroad. At the center of the narrative is Rita, a thirty-year-old aspiring filmmaker who migrates to England, and then Italy. She looks for work and love in all the wrong places, moving from city to city and from bed to bed.
The last three stories in this collection also happen to be among the author's most recent. "The Enchanted Princess" is an ironic title for a postfeminist tale of a South American woman being wooed to marry an old-world gentleman who promises to take care of her every need. "The Sanctuary" concerns the living conditions of immigrant workers and farm animals. Equally piquant in nature, "The Front" deals with ecology, labor environments, and gender politics.
"Reading Rheda's short stories and novel has been a delightful discovery for me.... Her style is full of wit, delicious and sometimes devastating irony, and captivating poetic imagery. Her book, in short, will be hard for readers to put down."
David George, Professor of Spanish, Lake Forest College