Brian Sousa Tagus Press, 2013 Library of Congress PS3619.O877A79 2013 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Brian Sousa leaves sentiment and saudade behind in Almost Gone, a linked collection spanning four generations of a Portuguese immigrant family. In this hardscrabble world, the youth struggle with the secrets left behind by their elders, as their parents fought through the pain and joy of assimilation. Told through various perspectives, Almost Gone is a working-class tale of survival that finds no easy answers, but cuts straight to the bone.
This gripping memoir is both a personal story and a portrait of a distinctive New England place—Fall River, Massachusetts, once the cotton cloth capital of America. Growing up, Joseph Conforti’s world was defined by rolling hills, granite mills, and forests of triple-deckers. Conforti, whose mother was Portuguese and whose father was Italian, recounts how he negotiated those identities in a city where ethnic heritage mattered. Paralleling his own account, Conforti shares the story of his family, three generations of Portuguese and Italians who made their way in this once-mighty textile city.
Presenting experimental and boundary-breaking prose from women, people of color, and LGBTQ writers, Behind the Stars, More Stars imagines a more diverse and inclusive Luso-American and Portuguese-American literary scene, which has traditionally been dominated by male voices. Since its first “Writing the Luso Experience” workshops were held in 2011, Dzanc Books’s Disquiet International Literary Program in Lisbon has aimed to break silences within today’s Luso-American communities. Disquiet faculty Katherine Vaz and Frank X. Gaspar appear alongside up-and-coming writers from the workshops, such as Traci Brimhall, Megan Fernandes, Hugo Dos Santos, and previously unpublished women writers.
First published in 1711, Brazil at the Dawn of the Eighteenth Century describes the four major economic activities of the Brazilian colony. Half the book is devoted to the sugar industry and the social world of those who grew the sugarcane. Other sections give a detailed view of the tobacco industry. Further, this work describes where and how gold was extracted, the new and old routes connecting Minas Gerais with the coast, and the rough-and-tumble world of the miners. Antonil concludes with discussion of the economic importance of cattle, and information on Brazilian exports and taxes. No other work provides this level of eyewitness detail.
Originally published in Portuguese in 1947, Baltazar Lopes’s Chiquinho offers a rich and compelling exploration of Cabo Verde’s unique identity. Tracing the arc of its young protagonist’s life as he approaches adulthood, the novel follows Chiquinho as he leaves his village, journeys to São Vicente Island to further his education, returns home as drought and famine strike the archipelago, and makes the difficult decision to join his father in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Reflecting the challenges faced by the Creole intellectuals of the so-called Claridade generation, this long overdue English translation of Chiquinho is sure to appeal to academic audiences as well as the general reader.
Winner of the Best USA Book Awards, Fiction: Multicultural category (2014)
Born from the fertile volcanic soil and the sea and mists surrounding the Azorean islands, the characters who inhabit these stories blend realism with magic. Like the nine Muses, each island has its own special attributes. Whether searching for love, power, or meaning, these characters are subject to the whims of Fate and Fortune. Here the commonplace present confronts forces both natural and supernatural. In the Azorean microcosm, they come to represent a far larger sphere, embodying the foibles and idiosyncrasies of humanity the world over.
Rubem Fonseca’s Crimes of August offers the first serious literary treatment of the cataclysmic events of August 1954, arguably the most turbulent month in Brazilian history. A rich novel, both culturally and historically, Crimes of August tells two stories simultaneously. The first is private, involving the well-delineated character of Alberto Mattos, a police officer. The other is public, focusing on events that begin with the attempted assassination of Carlos Lacerda, a demagogic journalist and political enemy of President Getúlio Vargas, and culminate in Vargas’s suicide on August 24,1954. Throughout this suspenseful novel, deceptively couched as a thriller, Fonseca interweaves fact and fiction in a complex, provocative plot. At the same time, he re-creates the atmosphere of the 1950s, when Rio de Janeiro was Brazil’s capital and the nexus of political intrigue and corruption. Mattos is assigned to solve the brutal murder of a wealthy entrepreneur in the aftermath of what appears to be a homosexual liaison. An educated and introspective man, and one of the few in his precinct not on the take from the bankers” of the illegal lottery, Mattos suffers from alienation and a bleeding ulcer. His investigation puts him on a dangerous collision course with the conspiracy to depose Vargas, the novel’s other narrative thread. The two overlap at several points, coming to their tragic end with the aged politician’s suicide and Mattos’s downfall.
Adamastor is a freshly divorced, frustrated bureaucrat trying to reinvent his life. Richie is a young, struggling actor. Together with Ernesto, a rakish, expat Argentine showman, they create Eden-Brazil, an ecotourism destination in a stunning swath of coastal rainforest. Inspired to provide visitors with the ultimate return to nature, they decide to stage the biblical story of the Garden of Eden, complete with Adam, Eve, snake, apple, the works. But recreating an earthly paradise as something more than another roadside attraction is no easy feat. In this charming, tragicomic tale, Moacyr Scliar employs his signature humor and talent for crisp storytelling, weaving together a playfully serious parable of environmentalist ideals clashing with the realities of local politics, global consumer culture, and competing visions of authentic nature.
The Eternal Son
Cristovão Tezza Tagus Press, 2013 Library of Congress PQ9698.3.E97F5513 2013 | Dewey Decimal 869.342
In this multi-award-winning autobiographical novel, Cristovão Tezza draws readers into the mind of a young father whose son, Felipe, is born with Down syndrome. From the initial shock of diagnosis, and through his growing understanding of the world of hospitals and therapies, Tezza threads the story of his son’s life with his own. Felipe, who lives in an eternal present, becomes a remarkable young man; for Tezza, however, the story is a settling of accounts with himself and his own limitations and ultimately a coming to terms with the sublime ironies and arbitrariness of life. He struggles with the phantom of shame, as if his son’s condition were an indication of his own worth, and yearns for a "normal" world that is always out of reach. Reading this compelling book is like stumbling through a trapdoor into the writer’s mind, where nothing is censored and everything is constantly examined and reinterpreted.
Jerry Williams' history of Azorean immigration to the United States offers us valuable insight into the experience and culture of Portuguese immigrants and their descendents. This account fills a major gap in American immigration history and gives us a comprehensive overview of how Portuguese-Americans—now numbering close to a million people—have come to constitute a vibrant and highly visible presence within southeastern New England, the areas around San Francisco and San Diego, Hawaii, and the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area. Even though Azorean immigrants all came from similar cultural and social backgrounds, Williams shows how regionally specific opportunity structures and social hierarchies have contributed to significant differences within the Portuguese-American experience. Starting with the whaling routes that first connected the mid-Atlantic archipelago with the ports of call in New England and California in the early 1800s, Williams lays out the complex relationship between the Azores and the US that has continued into the present. We learn how particular patterns of poverty, overpopulation and social inequality in the Azores pushed large numbers of the islands' inhabitants to leave their homes in search of better opportunities for themselves and their children. He tells the story of how the early whalers who jumped ship in New Bedford, San Francisco, or Hawaii were followed by kin and fellow villagers who had heard of plentiful jobs in New England's textile mills, gold and land in California, or agricultural work on Hawaiian plantations. Williams' account allows us to understand the importance of family and community connections throughout the immigrants' arduous transition from peasant life to industrial society.
News on the American Dream traces the development of the PortugueseAmerican press from its beginnings in the late nineteenth century to the present, taking readers from the East Coast to Hawaii, with strategic stops in places with large Portuguese communities, including New Bedford, Massachusetts; Oakland, California; and Newark, New Jersey. Alberto Pena Rodríguez’s nuanced analysis of the political, economic, social, and cultural roles played by these publications proves how important they were for the PortugueseAmerican community and the history of the ethnic press in the United States. Fascinating narratives about the founders, editors, and owners of these publications—and their challenges, squabbles, and successes—round out this engaging study.
Set in Tokyo, in a not-too-distant future, this novel tells the story of Shunsuke, a salaryman, and his complicated relationship with his mad poet father, Mr. Okuda, whose hobby is spying on his son. When Shunsuke falls in love with Iulana, a maelstrom of jealousy is set in motion that culminates in abduction and death. In poetic and imaginative language, Cuenca subtly interweaves reality and fiction, creating a dreamlike world whose palpable characters, including a silicone doll, leave a lasting impression. Written like a crime novel, full of odd events and reminiscent of Haruki Murakami’s work, this disturbing, kaleidoscopic story of voyeurism and perversion draws the reader in from the very first page.
Born on the island of Flores, between Europe and the United States, Pedro da Silveira captures the islander’s longing for migratory movement, leading to departure and an inevitable return. These fresh and original poems, now available in this masterful translation, express a deep connection to place, particularly, the insular world of the mid-Atlantic islands of the Azores. In Poems in Absentia & Poems from The Island and the World, we find yearning, hope, and loss in equal measure. In plain and direct language, we experience the emotions of dreaming and diminution as well as the discovery of illusions. Behind the poet’s searing irony, we recognize a capacious and adventurous spirit.
Renata Ferreira’s poems were composed in the final years of Portugal’s fascist regime, exposing and subverting the government’s draconian edicts against women’s rights, sexual freedoms, political dissent, and progressive thought. While she worked in the resistance as a clandestine writer, passing hand-typed bulletins and banned literature throughout Lisbon, her poetry is unmistakably ardent, tender, fraught, erotic, and Sapphic. Presenting the poems of this Portuguese American writer and detailing their surprising rediscovery in 2015, Frank X. Gaspar fuses genres, flouts borders, and brings to life a voice that had been silenced by history and happenstance. As his inventive narrative unfolds, Ferreira emerges, whole and mysterious, offering up her history, her passions, and her art.
The Relic: A Novel
José Maria De Eça De Queirós Tagus Press, 2012 Library of Congress PQ9261.E3R413 2012 | Dewey Decimal 869.33
The Relic is an irreverent fictional autobiography narrating the picaresque adventures of Teodorico, a Portuguese playboy determined to be the sole heir of his absurdly pious, sexually repressed, and tyrannical Auntie. Sent to the Holy Land, he returns with what he presumes is the "relic of relics" in hopes of persuading Auntie to bequeath her vast fortune to him. While in Jerusalem, Teodorico has a vision in which he witnesses Christ’s trial and crucifixion and the founding of Christianity—with a twist.
Jarita Davis Tagus Press Library of Congress PS3604.A9588A6 2016 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
These poems—varying from narrative to imagist to lyrical—reflect the "sodade" of Cape Verdean culture that is shaped by separation and longing—longing for the home that has been left behind and for loved ones who have departed. Cape Verdean communities extend beyond national boundaries and are paradoxically independent of place, even when inspired by it. Return Flights marks a turning point for Cape Verdean American culture, one in which a partially forgotten past becomes a starting point for possible futures, both of new transoceanic contacts and of new reinventions of culture.
Set in the Middle Ages but written in the early twentieth century, Eça de Queirós’s novella, Saint Christopher, is a powerful indictment of those who profess the value of morality but who do not practice it. The narrative is just as relevant today—when issues of religion, hypocrisy, and social justice are more urgent than ever—as it was when it first appeared in 1912. Written as though it were the product of a dialogue between Jesus and Proudhon (whose theories animate much of the narrative), Saint Christopher challenges today’s ethically motivated reader to do what the narrative’s protagonist does, that is, take up the cause of the wretched and abused of this earth.
Many people of Portuguese descent take pride in claiming that the word “saudade” is untranslatable. In reality, we come close with a melding of bittersweet nostalgia, bone-deep longing, and an endless yearning for what one can never have again—or indeed may never have had. Adelaide Freitas dipped her pen in saudade to tell of family separation and bonds that never loosen. In her authentic Azorean voice, she recounts the immigrant experience and centrifugal impulses that force people apart in spite of their desperation to cling to one another. In their sensitive rendering, the translators have captured the nuances of Freitas’s novel Smiling in the Darkness, with special care for those who have her native language in their heritage and heartfelt saudade for its loss.
Stormy Isles, originally published in Portuguese in 1944 and set in the Azores between 1917 and 1919, focuses on the vivacious and sharp Margarida, who, at twenty years of age, is a model of feminist aspirations and the paragon of her generation. A member of the elite, she foregoes some of the entitlements of her class and struggles with the morals of the bourgeois society in which her life unfolds. Narrated in realist and poetic language as a series of interconnected tales within a larger story, this completely revised translation of Stormy Isles provides a rich, vivid portrait of the Azores in the early twentieth century.
Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa first published Ualalapi: Fragments from the End of Empire in Portuguese in 1987. Named one of Africa’s hundred best books of the twentieth century, it reflects on Mozambique’s past and present through interconnected narratives related to the last ruler of the Gaza Empire, Ngungunhane. Defeated by the Portuguese in 1895, Ngungunhane was reclaimed for propaganda purposes by Mozambique’s post-independence government as a national and nationalist hero. The regime celebrated his resistance to the colonial occupation of southern Mozambique as a precursor to the twentieth-century struggle for independence. In Ualalapi, Ungulani challenges that ideological celebration and portrays Ngungunhane as a despot, highlighting the violence and tyranny that were hallmarks of the Gaza Empire. This fresh look at the history of late nineteenth-century southeast Africa provides a prism through which to examine the machinations of those in power in Mozambique during the 1980s.
The Unknown Islands is considered one of the most beautiful works of travel literature in Portuguese and one of the most important homages to the Azorean archipelago. In the summer of 1924, Raul Brandão undertook a trip with other intellectuals through the Azores and Madeira. Fascinated with the landscapes of the islands and seduced by the people, he went on to pen this foundational text of Azorean literature—elegantly capturing the history, memory, and imaginary of this storied place.
Luiz Ruffato Tagus Press Library of Congress PQ9698.428.U44D4213 2018 | Dewey Decimal 869.35
Inspired by his own family’s struggles, as well as the broader sociopolitical and economic forces that shaped Brazil in the 1970s, Luiz Ruffato’s epistolary novel, Unremembering Me, traces the story of the narrator’s older brother. Leaving behind his parents and younger siblings in order to assume financial responsibility for his family, Célio, a young factory hand from Cataguases, Minas Gerais, goes to work in industrial São Paulo. His letters home convey details about his work, living situation, adjustments to urban life, and fierce homesickness, even as they point to growing political unrest under the military dictatorship and Célio’s increasing participation as a union organizer.
In these seventeen stories by one of Brazil’s foremost living authors, Fonseca introduces readers—with unsurpassed candor and keenness of observation—to a kaleidoscopic, often disturbing world. A hunchback sets his lascivious sights on seducing a beautiful woman. A wealthy businessman hires a ghost writer, with unexpected results. A family of modern-day urban cannibals celebrates a bizarre rite of passage. A man roams the nocturnal streets of Rio de Janeiro in search of meaning. A male ex-police reporter writes an advice column under a female pseudonym. A prosperous entrepreneur picks up a beautiful girl in his Mercedes only to discover his costly mistake. A loser elaborates a lethal plan to become, in his mind, a winner.