[[caption-width-right:300: Riobaldo and Diadorim, as they appear in the {{mini series}}]]

->''“Do you know, sir, why I had gone to those places? You needn’t ask, I’ll tell you. How is it that you can like the true in the false? Friendship with the illusion of disillusionment? I had it easy, but with dreams that left me tired. The sort from which you wake up slowly. Love? A bird that lays iron eggs. It was worse when I started staying awake all night, not able to sleep. Diadorim was one of those inscrutable persons —he never revealed his inner thoughts, nor what he was surmising. I think I was that way too. Did I really want to know him? I did and I didn’t. Not even if you bury it in silence can a thing that doesn’t make sense be dealt with.”''

Acclaimed as one of the most important books ever written in Portuguese language -- [[http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/may/08/books.booksnews maybe in the whole world]] -- and compared to works like ''Literature/TheIliad'' and ''Literature/TheDivineComedy'', ''The Devil To Pay In The Backlands'' (''Grande Sertão: Veredas'', or ''Big Backcountry: Tracks'' in English) had its first edition published in 1956, being the only novel written by the [[{{UsefulNotes/Brazil}} Brazilian]] author João Guimarães Rosa.

The book is best know for mixing {{Neologism}}s with orality in [[AnachronicOrder a non-linear narrative]], making it [[MindScrew very difficult to understand]] at first reading, and for [[{{Doorstopper}} its more than 600 pages]]. It's also [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotDidactic studied in Brazilian schools]].

The story itself consists of Riobaldo, an ex-jagunço (mercenary), telling his past to a man from the city. What follows is [[TropeOverdosed betrayal, war, secret identity, conflicts with religion, friendship, homosexuality, deal with the devil and journey of revenge]]. Everything set in the almost mystical space of the backlands.

The book had two adaptations, one to the [[TheFilmOfTheBook big-screen]] in 1965 and another in a [[MiniSeries mineseries]] from 1985.

!!''The Devil to Pay in the Backlands'' provides examples of:
* ActionGirl: [[spoiler: Diadorim]].
* AnachronicOrder: The events are not narrated in chronological order ''at all''. But Riobaldo justifies himself saying that, to tell any memory that way, it must be a thing of little value.
* TheAnnotatedEdition: To explain that things like "dan''s''e" were on purpose.
* [[AntiHero Anti Heroes]]: Mostly of the jagunços. They can kill you for money or for any other reason - but mostly for money - and do your ladies, but they can also give you food, protection and -- well -- money.
* AsskickingEqualsAuthority: All the jagunços's leaders are pretty awesome. The leader of the leaders is even compared to God.
* AttractiveBentGender: [[spoiler: Diadorim is a case of SweetOnPollyOliver by herself, but when played by Bruna Lombardi, she's even more [[http://www.redebrasilatual.com.br/revistas/44/imagens/GrandeSerto_VeredasBrunaLombardiI0003710.jpg attractive]]]].
* AuthorAvatar: One can believe that the man listening to Riobaldo's narrative is João Guimarães Rosa.
* BadassAdorable: Diadorim likes birds and is lovely with children, but don't try to fight him.
* BadassArmy
* BlackAndGrayMorality
* CatchPhrase: "To live is dangerous."
* CoolPeopleRebelAgainstAuthority: They ''are'' the authority! Rebelling against the ''other'' authority!
* CrossingTheDesert: Not quite a desert, but is a extremely dry and big land, [[spoiler: and a lot of characters die trying to cross the place]].
* DaddyHadAGoodReasonForAbandoningYou: Joca Ramiro had a good reason for abandoning Diadorim.
* DealWithTheDevil: Did by Hermógenes and, later, [[spoiler:Riobaldo]].
* DisappearedDad: Riobaldo didn't know his father and really didn't care about it. When his mother died, he went to live with his godfather and discovered he was his father, in the end. Then he just runs away.
* DevilInPlainSight: Hermógenes, maybe because [[AnachronicOrder we already know he is going to kill Joca Ramiro before his first appearance]].
* {{Doorstopper}}
* FlowerMotifs: When Riobaldo asks Otacília what a flower name means, she says "marry me". Bacause of this we know that she wants commitment, not just a one-night thing.
** Beyond that, when Riobaldo tells her to say the same thing to Diadorim, she stays still, and Diadorim has a little jealous moment.
* {{Futureshadowing}}: Since everything is out of chronological order, a lot.
* {{Gayngst}}: Riobaldo, after he stops seeing himself and Diadorim as HeterosexualLifePartners.
* GreenEyes: Diadorim has green eyes.
* GodsNeedPrayerBadly: Riobaldo believes in that.
* TheGunslinger: Riobaldo.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Riobaldo sees himself and Diadorim as this trope for a long time.
* HoldingHands: You saw the image of this page .
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: Nhorinhá.
* IHaveYourWife: Not in the usual way, because it's the [[AntiHero heroes]] who kidnap Hermógenes's wife to use her as bait. Eventually, she [[BadassAdorable becomes Diadorim's friend]].
* ItsTheJourneyThatCounts: [[spoiler: The very last word of the book]].
* KnifeNut: Apparently, Diadorim. Even more after [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome the fight with Hermógenes]].
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters
* LoveTriangle: Otacília loves Riobaldo, who likes her and could even love her back if he wasn't already in love with Diadorim - who seems to love him too - but he has his own reasons - besides they being both male - to stay quiet.
* MeaningfulRename: After [[spoiler: the DealWithTheDevil]], Riobaldo claims to be "The White Rattler".
* {{Neologism}}: João Guimarães Rosa's works in a whole are well known for including a lot of neologisms, mostly of them very hard to translate, since they are all made-up to work in Portuguese.
* NoPeriodsPeriod: How [[spoiler: Diadorim]] hid it every month?.
* NotSoDifferent: Hermógenes was a fucking killer and made a deal with the devil, but [[spoiler:Riobaldo]] was not so different.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: It would be difficult to find characters with real names.
* ProperlyParanoid: Riobaldo and all his religious anguish, that makes him go to extremes such as pay two women to pray for him every day. It makes sense, [[spoiler: since he belives he has sold his soul to the devil]].
* PetTheDog: When the jagunços aren't [[KickTheDog kicking it]].
* RealNameAsAnAlias: [[spoiler: Diadorim is Maria ''Diadorin''a]]
* RetiredBadass: Riobaldo was truly badass when young; now is just a CoolOldGuy.
* {{Revenge}}: The goal of all the jagunços.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Diadorim can't stand living without his revenge, and will do anything to have it.
* RomanticFalseLead: Riobaldo was jealous of Joca Ramiro and Diadorim relationship for a long time. Which is quite funny, since Joca Ramiro was his father, after all.
* {{Satan}}: A pretty important character, [[spoiler: even if he doesn't exist]].
* SecretIdentity: Reinaldo is Diadorim [[spoiler:who is Maria ''Diadorin''a da Fé Bettancourt Marins]].
* ShootTheDog: Riobaldo almost does it literally once. In the normal meaning, many times.
* StraightGay: Riobaldo, although this is subject to never-ending discussion due to the way the plot resolves.
* [[spoiler:SweetOnPollyOliver: Riobaldo over Diadorim, obviously]].
* TalkingToTheDead: [[TearJerker "My love!"]]
* UnusualChapterNumbers: No chapter, or just one ''really'' big chapter.
* WalkingTheEarth: Every jagunço, somehow, but UpToEleven with Medeiro Vaz, who burned his own house before joining them, so he wouldn't have to come back.
* WarIsHell
* WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue: Not on the epilogue, since the book has a AnachronicOrder.
* [[WillTheyOrWontThey Will They Or Won't They]]: [[spoiler: They won't.]]
* YouKilledMyFather: Joca Ramiro was Diadorim's father.