In brief: Pretty Modern

Pretty Modern: Beauty, Sex and Plastic Surgery in Brazil
Alexander Edmonds
2010, Duke University Press
297 pages

july-bib-brazil-pretty-cover.jpgTHE NOTION of Silicon Valley takes on a whole new meaning in Brazil, where plastic surgery, a sensual social architecture and complex racial and gender diversity informs identity. It actually refers to the samba stadium where – given the number of performers with breast implants – the most well-known artistas in the country, from models to television presenters, like to parade their wares. This detail can be found within this rich ethnographic vein mined by Alexander Edmonds, who explores Brazil’s emergence as a global leader in plastic surgery and the many, many permutations that it can give rise to. I am not going to pretend that my age or knowledge of Latin America allow me to comment on any of this – a middle-class European male stuck in the stuffy literary ghetto of a review blog admittedly knows nothing of these things – but it has to be said Edmonds’ book is spectacular and fascinating, particularly for the uninitiated. This is an articulate and eloquent introduction to the Brazil that we all knew existed, but were afraid to discuss. – EC

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