O Tempo e o Vento

O Tempo e o Vento

O Tempo e o Vento (Time and the Wind) is a series of novels written by the Brazilian author Erico Verissimo. Confusingly, the first part of the series, O Continente, was translated as Time and the Wind, giving the impression that it is the whole work.

Plot introduction

The series tells the story of two families - Terra and Cambará -, and how they evolve through 200 years of history, from 1745 to 1945. Living in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in southern Brazil, both families experience the transformations of the country.

The books

The saga is composed of three books, divided in total by seven volumes:

  • O Continente (2 volumes)
  • O Retrato (2 volumes)
  • O Arquipélago (3 volumes)

Major themes

The trilogy tells the story of a traditional family that lives through transformations of the society, so not only the history of that particular family is explored, but also the historical process that took place in that part of Brazil, as in the whole country. Throughout the narrative, historical wars, revolutions, political crises and events are depicted and the characters are part or affected by them.

It's also noticeable that the families depicted to the book (ultimately family, since at a point they are joined by marriage) also go through transformations, departing from poverty in the beginning of the saga, until the economical and political prosperity, thus, ultimately, the Terra-Cambará family is part of an elite.

Plot summary

O Continente

The first book, entitled O Continente (The Continent), progresses in non-linnear chapters. There are seven chapters entitled "O Sobrado", that tell the story of a siege to the Terra-Cambará mansion, during the Federalist Revolution. Between these chapters, the history of the family is told chronologically, since its beginnings.


  • O Sobrado I
  • A Fonte
  • O Sobrado II
  • Ana Terra
  • O Sobrado III
  • Um certo Capitão Rodrigo
  • O Sobrado IV
  • A teiniaguá
  • O Sobrado V
  • A guerra
  • O Sobrado VI
  • Ismália Caré
  • O Sobrado VII
  • O Retrato

    O Retrato (The Portrait) is a portrait in flashback of Rodrigo Terra Cambará, a fictional member of the real government of Getulio Vargas, as a young man. Dr. Rodrigo arrives to his home town of Santa Fé after studying Medicine, takes his first steps in politics and exhibits many of the personality traits and vices that will follow him for life.

    O Arquipélago

    In O Arquipélago (The Archipelago), after the fall of the Vargas dictatorship, terminally ill, Dr. Rodrigo Terra Cambará returns to Santa Fé with his fractured family. In flashbacks and conversations, his days as a revolutionary and as a politician in Rio de Janeiro are remembered, just as the remaining members of the decadent family - particularly his son Floriano, a key part of this metafictional novel - try to rebuild their lives free from the influence of the dying patriarch.

    Main characters in "O Tempo e o Vento"

    O Tempo e o Vento features a huge cast of characters. Most of the notable characters belong to Terra and Cambará families. Some of the most notable are:

    • Ana Terra, a strong woman rejected by her family after having a son out of wedlock with a mestizo. One of the founders of the fictional city of Santa Fé.
    • Captain Rodrigo Cambará, a happy, picaresque man of arms, eventually settles in Santa Fé when he marries Bibiana Terra, thus forming the Terra Cambará family. Died while trying to take over the very Santa Fé where he lived in during the War of Tatters.
    • Licurgo Terra Cambará, long-living patriarch of the family and political leader of his city and grandson to Captain Rodrigo Cambará. Married his cousin Alice Terra. Killed in action during the revolution of 1923.
    • Dr. Rodrigo Terra Cambará, son of Licurgo and grand-grandson to Captain Rodrigo, takes over his father's role as political leader. Fights in the successful revolution that took Getulio Vargas to power, thus granting him a high position in the federal government. By nature a bon vivant and a liberal, he abandons his political convictions for the conveniences granted to him by his continued support of the Vargas government as it develops into a violent, long populist dictatorship.
    • Floriano Terra Cambará, one of the sons of Dr. Rodrigo, an introspective writer who, we learn at the end of the novels, is the writer of O Tempo e o Vento.

    Allusions and references to history

    O Tempo e o Vento is a historical novel. As such, many of its supporting characters and most of the historical events actually existed. This included, most notably, the War of Tatters and the Vargas dictatorship, and the political leaders Borges de Medeiros, Pinheiro Machado, Flores da Cunha, Júlio de Castilhos, Luís Carlos Prestes and many others. All of the revolutions are real, as are the wars of colonial Brazil against Spanish Argentina and the War of the Triple Alliance (called the Paraguay War in Brazil).

    The city of Santa Fé and the Terra Cambará family are entirely fictional. While the history of Santa Fé is typical of many other cities and towns in Southern Brazil, the Terra Cambará family is not based on any historical family in particular.

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