Works by Roa Lynn

Farewell Rio

Kate Lawrence is an ambitious young woman at the beginning of a promising literary career in New York.  She has a supportive family, education, beauty, talent and an itch to live a life of adventure:  “It was the rhythm of work I was after.  I wanted to win awards for my poetry, become a famous acquiring editor, travel the world, take risks, keep my eye to the keyhole.”

Following a stint in the Peace Corps in Tunisia she has a love affair, despite her misgivings, with Sérgio, a Brazilian diplomat who overwhelms her with his high culture, charm and intelligence.  In a fit of jealous rage Sérgio brings the affair to the bad end that her father and some of her friends had predicted.  Kate arranges an assignment to write a travel article on Sérgio’s hometown, Rio de Janeiro, hoping to understand both his jealousy and her vulnerability to him.

In Rio Kate moves among hippies, artists, musicians and millionaires.  She falls in love with the city as Brazil is descending into 15 years of repression by a military dictatorship that will imprison and torture hundreds of Brazilians.  She also falls in love with John, a Canadian journalist who, impressed by her writing, hires her as a novice reporter for an international wire service.  She covers the growing violent conflict between the military regime and its opponents.  Everything she experiences becomes grist for her poems.

John has a clandestine past.  As he cautiously reveals his secrets Kate surprises herself by reacting with envy as well as dismay.  She is fulfilling her dream of living on the front lines and is drawn to the audacious life John has led, but she is not prepared for the terrible loss she will suffer as the price for her adventures.

The background political events of this story were formative for many of Brazil’s current leaders, including Brazil’s first woman president, Dilma Rousseff, elected in October 2010.  Like the novel’s character Anabela, President Rousseff was arrested and tortured by the military government.

The Barbosa Legacy

Life doesn’t turn out for Alexandre Barbosa the way he expected.  He was born into a wealthy family in the Brazilian State of São Paulo that has owned one of the largest coffee and cattle-growing plantations in Brazil.   The family has expected him, when his turn comes, to take over the management of their lands.  Alexandre has other ideas.  He is a university student, studying architecture in Rio de Janeiro.  He wants an architecture practice.

The Barbosa family has a long history of gambling for high stakes.  As the story opens in 1969, Alexandre’s father has just lost their plantation in a poker game.  But this isn’t Alexandre’s biggest worry.  He is infuriated by the repressive military dictatorship that seized power in Brazil in 1964.  He feels a patriotic duty to join the left-leaning armed resistance to the generals when he returns to school, knowing that he will be risking his life.

Alexandre will pay a heavy price for his daring exploits in the resistance.  He and his lover, Monica, also an architecture student, will have to put their careers on hold and make new lives for themselves far from their families and far from home.  Their adventures will play out across South America, from Rio de Janeiro to Santiago de Chile, and then in New York.

Along the way, Alexandre will encounter Kate Lawrence, the protagonist of Farewell Rio, and readers will see through Alexandre’s eyes what happens to Kate after she leaves Brazil.

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Kate Lawrence, an editor and aspiring poet in New York, falls in love with Sérgio, a Brazilian diplomat who overwhelms her with his intensity, high culture and glamour. Now that she has met such a man, there is no turning back.  But Sérgio is 14 years her senior, the father of three children and recently separated from a wife who resists any discussion of divorce.  Kate’s father is worried:  “I’ve seen this play before, Catherine, and so have you.”

This short story is a prequel to the novel, Farewell Rio, by Roa Lynn.

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O Assassino e a Musa

An earlier version of Farewell Rio, published in Brazil in Portuguese translation.

A few copies are still available from

Brazil in Brief

A description of the geography, people, history, political institutions, economy, agriculture, industrial development, transportation, education, culture, architecture, sports, and food of Brazil, written for the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Available in paperback from

Also available online from the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Brazil and the USA: What Do We Have In Common?

A description of commonalities in the geography, history, politics, economy, and culture of Brazil and the United States.  For example, Brazilian patriots seeking independence from Portugal sought the assistance of Thomas Jefferson when he was the United States Minister to France.  This work was written for the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D.C.  Copies were presented to President Clinton and his party on the occasion of his visit to Brazil in 1997.

Available in paperback from

Also available online from the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Learning Disabilities: An Overview of Theories, Approaches and Politics

A description of the field as of 1979 with emphasis on the politics of learning disabilities and on educational approaches to testing and remediation.  Since the discussion of the science of learning disabilities was written in 1979, there have been major advances in the scientific understanding of learning disabilities taking advantage of new technologies for brain imaging and for recording brain activities.

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