There is almost no contemporary fiction that I could confidently describe as being universally inoffensive. I mean this without any snideness whatsoever, but I don’t know how English faculty at Christian colleges and universities manage to teach any courses in contemporary literature.
I occasionally teach an interdisciplinary Honors seminar called “The Meanings of Rivers,” in which I usually assign novels set along each of the major rivers that we focus upon. There are not many novels in English set along the Amazon. I initially tried Peter Matthiessen’s At Play in the Fields of the Lord, which thoroughly outraged a number of Christian students with its very unflattering depiction of missionaries.
So I then tried Emperor of the Amazon by the Brazilian novelist Marcio Souza. The novel treats a mercenary hired by interests headed by Henry Ford to lead an insurrection that would have created Fordlandia, an independent state around…
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