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The Collector of Leftover Souls

Field Notes on Brazil's Everyday Insurrections
Eliane Brum, Translated from the Portuguese by Diane Grosklaus Whitty
Eliane Brum is a star journalist in Brazil, known for her polyphonic writing that gives voice to people often underrepresented in popular literature. Brum’s reporting takes her into Brazil’s most marginalized communities: she visits the Amazon to understand the practice of indigenous midwives, stays in São Paulo’s favelas to witness the joy of a marriage and the tragedy of young men dying due to drugs and guns, and wades through the mud to capture the boom and bust of modern-day gold rushes. Brum is an enormously sensitive and perceptive interlocutor, and as she visits these places she provides intimate glimpses into both everyday and extraordinary lives: a poor father on the way to bury his son, a street performer who eats glass, a woman living out her final 115 days, and a hoarder rescuing the “leftover souls” of the city.

The Collector of Leftover Souls showcases the best of Brum’s work from two books, combining short profiles with longer reported pieces. These vibrant missives range across current issues such as the human cost of exploiting natural resources; the Belo Monté Dam’s eradication of a way of life for those on the banks of the Xingu River; and the contrast between urban centers and remote villages. Told in the vibrant and idiomatic language of the people Brum writes about, The Collector of Leftover Souls is a vital work of investigative journalism from an internationally acclaimed author.

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Urgent investigative essays covering a wide range of humanity in Brazil, from the Amazon to the favelas

About the Author

Eliane  Brum
Credit: Lilo Clareto
Eliane Brum is a writer, journalist, and documentary maker, and the author of five books of nonfiction and the novel One Two. The Collector of Leftover Souls: Field Notes on Brazil’s Everyday Insurrections is her first work of nonfiction to be translated into English. She has won over forty journalism prizes and honors, is a columnist for El País, and collaborates with the Guardian.
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Diane Grosklaus Whitty has translated The Collector of Leftover Souls: Field Notes on Brazil’s Everyday Insurrections by Eliane Brum, as well as Activist Biology by Regina Horta Duarte, and The Sanitation of Brazil by Gilberto Hochman. She has also translated prose and poetry by Adriana Lisboa, Marina Colasanti, and Ma´rio Quintana, among others. Her translations have appeared in the Guardian, the Lancet, History Today, and Litro. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
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  • “Ordinary lives rendered extraordinary by a master journalist who captures all their perplexity and quiet rebellion.”Kirkus Reviews, starred review
  • “Brum shows how her subjects, people excluded from wealth and privilege, resist in a myriad of ways the society determined to marginalize them. Thanks to her sensitive and adventurous reporting, [The Collector of Leftover Souls is] full of people and stories not soon forgotten.”Publishers Weekly
  • “In confirming the humanity of those whom we might easily overlook, Brum’s writing is a call to greater awareness of the lives around us.”Ploughshares
  • “[Eliane Brum’s] vision of human beings isn’t tainted by buzzwords or what she or they ought to feel. Her sympathies are broad, nuanced, and humane.”—Tom Sleigh
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