The Best-Seller from the Favela

As #Day4 of the @Olympics begins, we look at Carolina Maria de Jesus’ worldwide best-selling diary of her life in a Brazilian favela.

Indeed, the grandeur of the games co-exists with the tough slum-life reality of Brazil: the reality which Carolina Maria de Jesus recounts in her diary. This is a diary of her life in a Brazilian favela, the slums that are cities of crime and poverty, where she lived in a wooden shack roofed with flattened tin cans. She and her three children survived by foraging for waste paper and metal to sell and at night she wrote this diary on scraps of paper that made her internationally famous.

On its first publication in 1960, Beyond All Pity was a sensation and at the time was the bestselling Brazilian book in history, making Carolina Maria de Jesus a spokeswoman for the poor, the dispossessed and the illiterate. It provides unparalleled insight to the lives that exist beyond the Olympic stadium.

Beyond All Pity focussed attention on the plight of slum dwellers in Brazil’s favelas by its shocking description of the hungry and the poor in their daily struggle to survive. Carolina Maria de Jesus became one of the most famous figures in Brazil, and around the world, as millions identified with her strength of character and inspiring refusal to accept the world’s injustices.

Beyond All Pity is the unforgettable expression of an individual speaking against the evils of poverty and Carolina Maria de Jesus is an inspirational example of human endurance and courage under the most extreme suffering.

“Beyond All Pity… remains a key document for understanding life on the origins of a society which continues to be among the most unequal in the world.”
‘Times Literary Supplement’

Beyond All Pity



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