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  • Writer's pictureLannie Neely III

Land of Mist Preface

São Paulo is a massive city—a tremendous, sprawling deity at the heart of Brazilian history, economy, and identity. At a time it was lovingly known as “Terra da Garoa,” or as we might say in English, Land of Mist. The title itself provokes wondrous São Paulo imagery: Land of Mist! You might envision swathes of deep fog, rich in mystery, darkness, possibility, and romance. But Land of Mist is a misleading translation. 

Literally, it might be better to translate “Terra da Garoa” to Land of Sprinkles or Land of Drizzle, indicating the soft rain that falls freely any time of the year. With that blunt translation, the romance dies, and São Paulo is rendered a feeble, wavering concentration of desperation and moistures. The Land of Drizzle! In truth, and in comedic effect—the comedy of course being cosmic, inescapable—is that the lustre of São Paulo is bolstered and quelled, in equal proportion, by external comprehension. It is at once sharpened and culled when battered against the English tongue or the foreign eye or the global mind. It defies translation, to put it simply. And any attempt to translate is artistic injustice to a degree that should make the communicator feel sticky with shame and heavy with guilt at what a careless and shallow result would be birthed from even the most thoughtful and well-intentioned mind of a person who has not been born and raised there. To bend São Paulo to any worded form is to kill São Paulo. It’s unfair. It’s wretched. It’s wicked and misrepresentative.

Here’s my story based on this Land of Mist.




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