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Aliefka Bijlsma's new novel, The Consult General’s Wife, is a sad, funny, and eye-opening story about an aging Dutch diplomat in Brazil. At Words Without Borders, Bijlsma and I talked about topics including: her childhood spent in various different continents; the challenges of creating a character who’s different in age, sex, and temperament to yourself; and what happened when she got lost in a favela ruled by Rio’s main gang.

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