The Sun on My Head is a collection of thirteen stories set in Rio’s largest favela, gravitating around the lives of young boys and men who, in spite of having to deal with the anguish and difficulties inherent to their age, also struggle with the violence involved in growing up on the less favoured side of the ‘Broken City’.
They smoke weed, sell weed, and notice the smell of weed lingering on the clothes of passersby in the streets. A boy steals his security-guard father’s gun to show it to his friends, another runs into trouble disposing of a body, and another relapses into an old graffiti habit, with tragic consequences . Drugs and poverty colour them, but these stories also depict the pain of growing up with attendant hopes and desires.
Geovani Martins has produced a spellbinding debut about masculinity, corruption, guilt, poverty and resilience. Completely of our time and yet profoundly timeless, it’s a book that animates and humanises the people of a city whose humanity is often obscured by its own reputation.
Geovani Martins was born in 1991 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He grew up with his mother in the Rio neighbourhood of Vidigal. He supported his writing by working as a sandwich-board man and selling drinks on the beach, and was discovered during creative writing workshops at Flup, the literary festival of the Rio favelas. The Sun on My Head is his first book.
Review: Geovani Martins ‘The Sun on My Head’, Yara Rodrigues Fowler, The White Review
Prompt: Think back to when you were a teenager. What was life like from your perspective? Think back to a day that feels familiar. Write 3 paragraphs then work into fiction.