John M. Parker
The four excellent novellas which comprise [Armas & corações] … display all the qualities which have made Dourado a major figure in contemporary Brazilian fiction. Each of the stories in Armas & corações illustrates a different method of delaying the unfolding of the plot, and in this sense Dourado can be seen to make further use of the process explored so effectively in Novelário de Donga Novais (1976). At the same time, the author's particular reliance on point of view proves to be, here again, a central feature, in this case making an essential contribution to the delay-suspense formula. It is by narrating "Manuela em dia de chuva" from the point of view of the child Manuela, and with frequent recourse to style indirect libre, that the author is able to allow conjectures to form very gradually in the reader's mind as he follows the child's slow, frequently interrupted review and assimilation of the tragedy. In "Às seis e meia no Largo do Carmo" three points of view are used in succession, so that the same set of facts seen from different angles, even in terms of physical location, is each time superimposed on the skeleton outline: the third viewpoint, that of Orizombo the hit man, provides an unexpected denouement in a story presenting an ironical account of the workings of machismo.
If these stories are linked by method of composition, their collective purpose is further borne out not only by their being set in Dourado's fictional town of Duas Pontes, in the south of Minas...
(The entire section is 637 words.)