Maria Leda Souza Hogan
In her memoir Club of Stars, Maria Souza Hogan details life and death in the inhumane slums where she lived with ten brothers and sisters. The lives of her extended family, her poverty-stricken community, women in particular, are intrinsic to her story.
Club of Stars evokes the rich African heritage, cultural celebrations and oral history of northern Brazil where Maria and her family’s home in the favela was bordered by the tempestuous Atlantic Ocean on one side and a dangerous two-lane highway on the other.
A collective memory that demands to be heard, Club of Stars shines a light on the blunt reality of Brazil’s inequality and social injustice. Maria vividly articulates what it is like to go hungry for days on end, to go to school without shoes or books, and, though hungry herself, to tutor well-fed students in order to pay for school supplies and food.
“Maria Souza Hogan’s memoir tells the heartbreaking story of her family striving for survival in the least developed region of Brazil. Despite depicting poverty’s tragic reality, Club of Stars is profoundly inspiring not only for its human truth, but also for the inherent hope it highlights.”
Cecília Rodrigues, Assistant Professor of Portuguese, University of Georgia