The economic and social conditions of a small and remote Brazilian town are featured in this well-wrought story that can easily be understood as standing for a much broader picture. The police chief in the town is also the only judge and censor of the townspeople and their media, and one day his authority is subtly undermined when a traveling magician and his gorgeous wife, also his assistant, arrive to spend some time here. The wise and sophisticated magician is the exact opposite of the burly police chief (a buffoon, it turns out), and he is deeply moved by the abject poverty he sees all around, especially in the paupers' marketplace. And so with a flourish of magic power, he transforms the marketplace into an arena of abundance. The result is that he is thrown into prison by the police chief, now worried that the status quo that keeps the masses impoverished and himself in power is about to be toppled. The result is a surprise for everyone concerned, except for the magician.
~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi
- Nelson Xavier