Cover Image: Liberty Farm

Liberty Farm

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Member Reviews

I loved this book, especially the way the political, economic, and social issues were interlaced with the story. Liberty Farm is a man’s world, but the interesting and strong characters are all women. The author brilliantly shows how the female characters struggle for their right to self-determination in a male-dominated society, a struggle that took place – and unfortunately still takes place – in similar ways not only in Brazil but everywhere. So the book transcends geography and time: this could be any patriarchal family, anywhere. In my opinion the story ends too soon. I wanted to know more about the younger generation and I wished the author hadn’t stopped the story in 1989. I hope there will be a sequel.
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I really enjoyed this family saga set in Brazil following three generations over one century against the backdrop of Brazil’s turbulent history. The family dynamics, the changes in social mores, aspects of agriculture, economics and education – the book covers so many aspects of Brazilian life with short separate chapters keeping readers updated on political events. I was initially dismayed when I saw pages of dates and lists of characters at the beginning, as I’m always wary of books that seem to need these, but in the event I needn’t have worried as the complex family relationships and the many members are easy to keep track of as the narrative style is plain, succinct and simple (but not simplistic) and the politics is explained again in a very clear way so that it doesn’t intrude on the story. Just as politics only rarely impinge on the family as they struggle with education, work and often fractious family relationships. Those lists should be moved to the end of the book just as reference if needed. It’s a really compelling novel about some truly memorable characters, and as a bonus I learnt a lot about Brazil as I followed their stories.
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I did not read this book yet and put a wrong review. I will write my review as soon as I am done with it. Sorry for inconvenience
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Wow, this is one great book!  "Liberty Farm: A Family Portrait" is a family saga that spans three generations of farmers  and one hundred years, set against the backdrop of the  tumultuous state of Brazilian government and politics.  This book is not only entertaining, it is educational as well, but never dry.  This is the story of a family that always sticks together through good times and bad times, and despite the bad actions of some of the family members.  The characters were so well-developed and realistic-I sometimes felt that I was reading about real people instead of fictional ones.  All of the characters are flawed in some way, as real people are, and I become so engaged with them that I experienced real emotions of anger, hate, disappointment, sadness, and joy right along with the characters. This is a long story, and it does drag at times.  However, this book is definitely work sticking through to the end.  

Many thanks to NetGalley, to the author Izai Amorim, and to the publisher for the privilege of reading an advanced digital copy of this fabulous book in exchange for my honest review.
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First thought? So many descriptions. Pages filled with dates and historical events and oh, so many character names that I struggled to remember and connect. To be honest, I was afraid I will be completely put off so I skipped all these and went straight into the story. Boy, was I happy to do it. As soon as I dived in I familiarized myself with both main families and relationships between them. It felt like I have new acquaintances and am part of it all.
The further I went the more frustrated I got. I was annoyed with the patriarchy and misogyny, I was frustrated to read that giving birth to a girl meant nothing else but a wasted belly and because of it I was tempted to just switch off and move on to another book. Only, I couldn’t. This is a family saga that goes beyond all those times ideologies and mentalities. It spreads from 1980s to 1990 showing developments of politics and dramas carried on by three family generations.
Overall, it is a very good read for those who love a psychological family saga mixed with political and historical events.
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This is a family that is far from perfect, but no family is, and even the characters I like most have serious flaws in their humanity. Some of the characters aren’t fleshed out enough but that’s probably because this could easily have been written as two separate books, both of considerable length. Overall, the book is well written and I felt as if I got to know most of the main characters considerably well. I got frustrated with the patriarchy and misogyny throughout, but those were necessary elements, without which the narrative wouldn’t be true to life. I didn’t know much about Brazilian history prior to reading this novel, and I appreciate the education. It’s interesting how people, politics, and land ownership are so intertwined.
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I’m a big fan of long dramas spanning generations and I loved Liberty farm. The plot is fascinating and the characters well developed and come across as human and real. I loved the way Esra Duarte manipulated his family though I was sad that he wasn’t punished in the end. I was instantly hooked by the first paragraphs in the prologue – the idea of the love black hole.  It’s a very good metaphor. This novel made me think about how people embellish the narrative about their past.
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Thank you Net Galley for the free ARC. Sparsely written family story that encompasses the history of the whole country of Brazil. I liked the idea of very short chapters, with very direct references. It read more like non fiction than novel.
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I have to say this was hard to get into and sometimes you do want to put it away but a third of the way I was a uite interested in the characters and their lives spans across three generations who live on liberty farm. I’ve never Read a book set in Brazil so this was very unique for me probably for a lot of other readers too.
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I love books that mix historical facts with a fictional story. This book lived up to that. Generations of a family growing up on a cattle farm was the backdrop. Helena was by far the best character in the book. The losses and struggles that she dealt with were heartbreaking. The book starts off very slow but really pics up speed. I wish it had ended with Esra (with an s) getting what he deserved.
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I'm sorry I requested this book to review for a contest I'm judging but I'm afraid it's not eligible for that contest. I had to set it aside.
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A historical saga tracing three Brazilian generations across the 20th Century. They lived at the edge of the jungle, farming away but as the family swells things slowly change. Through hard work and much luck they made money and bred always hoping for sons. Family must stick together was their motto, even though they mainly hated each other.
There are interesting vignettes into Brazil's political and financial scene that are interspersed with lots of dialogue; maybe too much at times. The political scene changed but for farmers, engineers and business people life revolved around the weather and trade.
There's plenty of characters some good and one really bad. Why the family stuck together regardless of who did what or said what mystified me but maybe this is a cultural thing.
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Liberty Farm: A Family Portrait – Izai Amorim

Izai Amorim’s Liberty Farm is a mirror of family dynamics, historical change, and the socioeconomic (r)evolution which gripped Brazil between 1898 and 1989. It is a grand endeavour, ambitious like the Almeida family fortunes. At the heart of all great events, Amorim seems to tell us, stands passion – selfish, blind, and destructive – disguised as love: Ezra’s love for the dead Nelson, for the farm, for the Sertão da Resaca; Esra Duarte’s love for recognition, for money; even Ezra Neto’s love for adventure. 

‘Liberty Farm’ is founded as the Romantic dream of man in nature (by the poor yet educated Juliano), only to quickly succumb to the power of money and commerce (of the rich although illiterate Ezra). A line is drawn that will tear the Almeida family apart from that point forward, between the ones wanting to leave, and those wanting to stay; the ones blinded by the wish to be loved by their father, and the resentment of those aware such love is unattainable; the ones driven by emotion, and the ones driven by greed. Even as the generations come and go, their interactions, as well as their responses to the outside influences of politics, medicine, market shifts, and so forth, all are invariably fed by this internalised struggle. Concomitantly, the reader witnesses the changes affecting Brazil, and by extension the world, through the lens of these concentric dichotomies. 

Who would enjoy this
As a fictionalised narrative based on true events (or so it claims), and with its extensive inclusion of historical data, Liberty Farm is a good choice for those who love historical sagas. I have certainly learned a lot about Brazil, without feeling overwhelmed by an onslaught of information. 

Additionally, this is recommended for those who like emotional drama. In many ways, the intricacies of the tale reminds me of those in soap operas. It is an interesting insight into Brazilian (as much as one can extrapolate from a fictional representation) mores and beliefs, along with their consequences. Readers who enjoy this kind of literature will definitely have a good experience with this volume so long they don’t expect the characters to be likable. Like in life, no-one is free of sin – pride, envy, greed, sloth, lust, gluttony and wrath are all present, in all of the Almeidas, to some measure. And Ezra’s self-important, God-like attitude over his family shines above all.

Who should give this a pass
As in most cases, if the reader does not feel tempted by the section above, they will probably not enjoy this book. Despite its borrowing from the novela-verdade (true-life soap opera) genre popular on television, Liberty Farm is much more than mere prurient entertainment. Thus, I wouldn’t suggest it for light reading. 

On the other hand, I wouldn’t suggest it for readers who want clear-cut history or have strong opinions on most modern concerns. The author’s views on certain subjects, such as ecology, gender, capitalism, or religiosity, come through often enough to make some of that information slightly suspect. As a result, it may trigger certain groups, who would better pick up other tomes instead.

Conclusions and suggestions 
This is a far-reaching, self-managed project by the author, and I was very pleasantly surprised by it. The story is well built, and the use of the historical snippets add to, rather than distract from it. It is obvious that this has long been a labour of love, with great attention to detail. Amorim has also created a story dynamic enough, yet focused enough, to hold the readers’ interest, despite the abundance of people and events. 

That said, the story could do with some trimming, as there is a marked imbalance in the presence of certain characters, and that of their siblings, for example. Such tilt gives the impression that the author had much more to tell, but chose to cut the younger siblings’ stories short to limit length to one tome. This, in principle, is a very good idea. However, they should have either been edited completely out, or their follow-up be hinted at in possible subsequent volumes. These characters, such as Marcos or Nelson Dois, have too much detail in their story to blend into the background. 

Again, this is an excellent effort by Izai Amorim. Liberty Farm delivers a good story, strong characters, as well as information to tickle the mind. I would expect good things in future, while hoping he tightens his narrative slightly more.
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I already feel bad about the review I’m about to write, so out of respect for the author please bear with me. Liberty Farm: A Family Portrait by Izai Amorim is a lengthy intergenerational account of a Brazilian family up through the last bout of military discord in the late 1980s.  Izai’s style of writing reminded me of Love in the Time of Cholera (Garcia-Marquez) in that the plot is intertwined not just between characters, but across time. Payoff is not immediately achieved and at this time I’m not very patient. I read Liberty Farm during the Covid-19 outbreak. While this book is best enjoyed as a commitment read I found the writing tedious and difficult to follow.
 I do need to give Amorim credit for writing a character driven multi-generational novel, exactly  because of the extraordinary complexity style required. I’m convinced Liberty Farm is a book written for a certain time and place. Now just isn’t that time.
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This book centred around a number of generations of one Brazilian family. They farmed the land and their aim was to provide for their children and ensure they attended as high as  third level education. Their families were of utmost importance to them. The characterisations in this story were superb and I could truly empathise with some of the female characters. They were strong, driven and powerful. They put up with a lot and were the back bones of their families. This period of history, approximately one hundred years covered in this book, was interwoven very well into the family saga and provided much knowledge on a period of history I knew very little about spanning the beginning of Brazilian independence until the military dictatorship ended in 1989. This isn't a period that we regularly learn about or are taught in school so it was a very interesting addition to this saga. I enjoyed it a lot and certainly would recommend.
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Liberty Farm by Izai Amorim wasn't the book for me. I never really got into it, and it felt like it went on forever. I didn't want to not finish it, but I also wasn't eager to see how the story ended. Mostly, I wanted to be done with it. It wasn't a bad book by any means, I just don't think it was a book written for me. I can see lots of people really enjoying this one- it's kind of a coming of age family farming saga that intertwines historical events with a family's life over around one century. The highlight of Liberty Farm for me was the female characters. Helena is a damn rock, and she's a saint for putting up with what she put up with. The interweaving of women's reproductive rights in the book was glorious and I wanted more of that story angle. Perhaps that's why the book didn't work for me as much- I really didn't care for any of the male characters and wanted to hear more from the women. I know historical context means the women's stories wouldn't have been shared, but nonetheless, it was their voices that interested me the most.
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When I first started reading this book, I admit I found it hard going. I originally felt that it was going nowhere

But I persevered, as I never leave a book unfinished no matter what my original thoughts are

As the book went on, I found myself loving the whole way the book was written. With the historical facts of what was happening politically and behind the scenes of life, going back to the story was a pleasure

I grew to love the characters and hate the 'baddies' that the author has written so imaginatively about 

The way the author makes the characters come alive and make you feel as if you were a part of their lives was brilliant
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This is a great historical story about life in a family in Brazil. As usual,  Izai does a great job with the characters in this book!  I was rooting for a few and despising a few of them. The story is about a family of farmers who gets their children to go to college.  It spans a few generations and comes from the view of a few of the characters. It is also told during a rough part of Brazil history,  adding to the flavor of the story. I recommend this book! 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I had the opportunity to read an earlier version of this family saga last year, and I enjoyed it so much that I requested and read a copy from NetGalley this month.

I didn’t know a lot about this time period in Brazilian history, but the author does a great job laying out the national political situation alongside the family’s story. The family itself is populated by colorful and interesting characters: patriarch Ezra made me crazy, but I couldn’t help but like him. I adored Helena and Lara—both are strong female characters doing what they must in their own times—and loved Ezra Neto. Esra Duarte is a perfect villain… when a character can actually make me angry, the author has their job.

This book is well written, informative and entertaining, with a touch of magical realism courtesy of some enlightening dream sequences. Beautiful photographs throughout the book, along with helpful maps, glossaries, and character lists, make this an enjoyable and informative read. Highly recommend for anyone who enjoys Gabriel Garcia Márquez, Isabel Allende, or historical family sagas.
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