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1001 Stories Collection

My Sweet Orange Tree

1001 My Sweet Orange Tree
Added on 08th August 2020

Author José Mauro de Vasconcelos
First published 1968
Translator Alison Entrekin
Publisher (English translation) Pushkin Press

The story of Zeze, a mischievous child, growing up in poverty in Rio de Janiero.

Story

Five-year old Zeze is the 2nd youngest of seven children living in poverty in Rio de Janiero. When the family have to move due to unpaid rent, Zeze befriends a huge orange tree in his new back garden. He calls the tree ‘Minguinho’ and tells it everything. He earns money from doing jobs wherever he can. At school he behaves well to please his teacher. Whenever anyone is kind to him he holds it close.

However, Zeze is a prankster. A mischievous troublemaker who is regularly beaten, told he is a devil child and should never have been born. He is beaten so regularly he sees himself as unlovable.

His pranks range from irritating for family and neighbours to destructive. However his life changes when he is befriended by Mr Valadares.

Why we chose it

A story of survival. My Sweet Orange Tree is the second of a four-part work and is a classic in Latin American world.

Where it came from

Set in Rio de Janiero it tells the story of the childhood of José Mauro de Vasconcelos (1920-1984).

Where it went next

A huge success in Brazil where it has never been out of print, the novel has been translated into 19 languages. The first film adaptation was produced in 2004. A second film based on the novel and directed by Marcos Bernstein was produced in 2012.

Associated stories

My Sweet Orange Tree is the second of four related autobiographical novels that centre on different stages of Zeze’s life. They were not written in chronological order

Added on 08th August 2020

Author José Mauro de Vasconcelos
First published 1968
Translator Alison Entrekin
Publisher (English translation) Pushkin Press