Heliopolis, By James Scudamore

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The Independent Culture

James Scudamore's prizewinning debut The Amenesia Clinic was set in Ecuador, and it's to South America he returns in this slinkily assured second novel sending up Brazil's super-rich. As a child, Ludwig Aparecido dos Santos is plucked from the São Paolo favelas by the supermarket millionaire, Ze Generoso, and dropped into a world of penthouse suites.

Now in his twenties and working for a communications company, he finds himself both ravished and revolted by his lifestyle. Involved in a semi-incestuous affair with his adoptive sister, Melissa, he has moments when he's tempted to sabotage his own good fortune.

In a novel that successfully straddles urban extremes, a streamlined fantasy summons up a teeming citadel where the wealthy take to their helicopters "like fat flies", leaving migrant workers to swarm below.

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