2008 - Alfred, a retired civil servant, decides to visit the site of the battle. To put his foot down on what is no more than a lonely spot on threadbare land.
'Innocent Mosquitoes' tells how Alfred leaves the comfort of his hometown, Liverpool, and visits Canudos, an isolated battle site in rural, north east Brazil. A far cry from recent documentaries and Rio-centred Olympic hype, Alfred's journey takes him to Salvador, Fortaleza, Belem and Manaus, revealing an honest and alternative view of Brazil.
Much more than a factual description of his travels, we share the author's encounters with danger, poverty and ill health. 'Innocent Mosquitoes' is a true account of the journey made by the author to visit Canudos in the North East of Brazil. With no previous affinity to Brazil,he was drawn to the country after reading of the war of Canudos where in 1896, the new Republican Government slaughtered thirty thousand people and destroyed the millenarian community that was led by the priest, Antonio Conselheiro.
Howard Jackson, reinventing himself as Alfred, a retired civil servant, describes his solitary 11,000 mile journey around Brazil and how, despite himself, he finally visits the site of the battle. A fascinating read, 'Innocent Mosquitoes' is an unusual and original travel book. Alfred is not the normal adventurer. When he leaves England he has no previous experience of Brazil, limited Portuguese, and no fondness for travelling outside his own country.
'Innocent Mosquitoes' describes honestly, amusingly and movingly what a naive Alfred saw and learnt on a journey where he met the innocent and not so innocent. History is appealingly mixed with a first-hand account to give plenty of information about a fascinating country.
Alfred has a weakness for whimsy and fantasy, and it soon invokes the canine philosopher Quintas Borba, the ex-president Getulio Vargas, notorious bandit Lampiao, and other famous Brazilian ghosts. They help Alfred complete his 11,000 mile journey and understand his compulsion to visit and commemorate alone the tragedy that happened in distant Bahia.
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