Never-Ending Youth is a 21st-century reminder of the groundbreaking work of Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Roberto Bolaños. It portrays the anxiety and exuberance of youth, the magnetism of home and culture in times of strife and suffering. Brazilian radical journalist and novelist Urariano Mota brings the heat, intensity, and perennial peril of Northeast Brazil to life in Peter Lownds’s vivid, annotated translation.
The plot unrolls in the streets, bars, beaches, and boarding houses of Recife and Olinda, Pernambuco, in the early 1970s, a time of undeclared civil war and internecine struggle when the clandestine activities of a group of friends and comrades defy the military dictatorship. Some perish while others survive to reflect on their fate.
The young rebels’ love for painting, poetry, music, and alcohol is challenged by a hasty indoctrination in Marxist, Leninist, and Maoist theory. They make impulsive decisions in precarious times with scant moral and material support, and those who survive attempt to reconcile their utopian past with their more comfortable existence a half century later when Jair Bolsonaro’s authoritarian regime reminds them that the struggle for social justice continues. Urariano Mota’s Never-Ending Youth is both a memoir and a paean to the survival of the revolutionary spirit.