This powerful, award-winning Brazilian novel is reminiscent of Naipaul, Faulkner and Conrad in its exploration of human behaviour on the edges of civilization. In August 1939, a twenty-seven-year old American ethnologist, brilliant and from a solid background, mysteriously commits suicide in Brazil while studying among the tribes of the Amazonian basin. He leaves behind him seven letters, alleging different motives for his suicide - to some, he said he had contracted a terrible disease; to others, he said that he could not recover from his wife’s betrayal with his own brother (but he wasn’t married, and he didn’t have a brother). In the present, the narrator becomes obsessed with the search for an eighth letter he is convinced must have existed. As the reader observes, his search slowly drives him mad - a Marlowe haunted by the fate of his own Kurtz. This is truly a remarkable novel.