Grande Sertão: Veredas - the novel
Grande Sertão: Veredas (Portuguese for "Great Backlands: Paths"; English translation: The Devil to Pay in the Backlands) is a novel published in 1956 by the Brazilian writer João Guimarães Rosa.
Grande Sertão: Veredas is the complex story of Riobaldo, a former jagunço (mercenary or bandit) of the poor and steppe-like inland of the Rio São Francisco, known as Sertão, of the state of Minas Gerais in the dawn of the 20th century. Now an old man and a rancher, Riobaldo tells his long story to an anonymous and silent listener coming from the city. The book is written in one long section, with no section or chapter breaks.
The original title refers to the veredas - small paths through wetlands usually located at higher altitudes characterized by the presence of grasses and buritizais, groups of the buriti palm-tree (Mauritia flexuosa), that criss-cross the Sertão region in northern Minas Gerais as a labyrinthine net where an outsider can easily get lost, and where there is no single way to a certain place, since all paths interconnect in such a way that any road can lead anywhere. The English title refers to a later episode in the book involving an attempt to make a deal with the Devil.