"Brasyl", by Ian McDonald, is the second of my bargain 50% off purchases from Reader's Feast. I wasn't sure about it, having given up on "River of Gods" after a couple of chapters. I'd heard good things though, and it was half price.
I'm glad I did. It is three narratives, all taking place in Brasil, but separated by time. There's a modern day tv producer, a wide boy in 2030 wheeling and dealing, and a Jesuit missionary in the 18th century. You know these stories are related, the fun is working out how.
While River of Gods annoyed me with far too many characters rolled out at the start, making it hard to remember who was who, Brasyl is a lot more focussed, the characters and settings more distinct. The culture of Brasil is made to sound exciting, different, and dangerous. The heavy use of Portugese words in the text deftly immerses you, although I've read reviews where this turned people off. If you read SF a lot, you're used to imputing meaning from context for made-up words.
Definitely worth reading, even if you haven't liked his stuff in the past.