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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction


O Opositor

Luis Fernando Verissimo

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Title: O Opositor
Author: Luis Fernando Verissimo
Genre: Novel
Written: 2004
Length: 153 pages
Original in: Portuguese
Availability: Le doigt du diable - France
Meierhoffs Verschwörung - Deutschland
  • O Opositor has not been translated into English

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Our Assessment:

B+ : atmospheric small thriller

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Le Figaro A 16/2/2006 Sébastien Lapaque

  From the Reviews:
  • "Le quatrième roman de Luis Fernando Verissimo traduit en français n'a rien de commun avec les désolants thrillers conspirationnistes présentement à la mode. L'écriture est tenue, le rythme parfait, la mise en abîme subtilement élaborée. C'est Au coeur des ténèbres à la mode amazonienne, avec chaleur accablante, assassins mystérieux et délires mystiques." - Sébastien Lapaque, Le Figaro

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       O Opositor is a small thriller that's heavy on the atmosphere. It's narrated by a small-time journalist who travels to Manaus to write a story on the hallucinogenic plants of the Amazon. It's a good deal for him: he gets to spend his days with his half-Indian, half-Danish girlfriend Serena, sipping mind-expanding tea, comfortably far away from the office in São Paulo.
       For a change of pace (and beverage), he heads out to a local bar one day, where he encounters Jósef Teodor, a drunk who spends his days and nights in the bar and is willing to tell his story to anyone who buys him enough to drink. Teodor has a hell of a story to tell, and the journalist spends the next few days slowly getting it out of him. There's a grand, worldwide conspiracy at the heart of it, of course, a mysterious Meierhoff-Group (named after a Belgian hotel where they meet) having more or less successfully achieved world domination. Consisting of some seventeen people, they control three-quarters (or some such absurd percentage) of the world's wealth.
       Teodor, who knows twenty-one ways to kill someone with his bare hands, is one of their hitmen, and he got the call to take out a Dr.Curtis, responsible for one of the Meierhoff experiments that went a bit awry: he was to develop a virus to get rid of the world's undesirables, but it got a bit out of hand (unnamed, the virus is pretty obviously HIV). Curtis got to feeling guilty about what he had wrought, and the Meierhoff group couldn't let him wander around like that, so Teodor was set on his trail. Among the facts adding a bit of tension to the hunt: anyone who learns the secret of what Curtis did has to be gotten rid of as well.
       Half the fun of O Opositor is in the telling of the tale: the journalists's fascination with the assassin, as well as his other small obsessions (Serena, his pathetic job, hallucinogenic plants). Verissimo does the local colour -- the bar, the interest the home office has in the journalist's story -- very well, and the shifts between tall tale and menacing danger keep the reader nicely on edge.
       The story is a bit absurd in its ambition -- why does it always have to be world domination and the like ? a smaller-scale conspiracy would have been much more convincing -- but on the smaller human scale the story works quite well. Even though the ending is foreseeable, Verissimo keeps the tension going nicely all the way through.
       O Opositor is a short novella, but it's an enjoyable little read, the atmosphere nicely evoked, and with a few decent thrills.

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Reviews: Luis Fernando Verissimo: Other books by Luis Fernando Verissimo under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Brazilian author Luis Fernando Verissimo was born in 1936.

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© 2006-2012 the complete review

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