Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Last Will and Testament of Senor da Silva Araujo (Cape Verde): Read It for a Melancholy Latin Take on Love in African Cape Verde

The Last Will and Testament of Senor da Silva Araujo (Cape Verde)

Read It Because:
This translated piece of Cape Verdean fiction is beautiful, sad, and meandering as it examines the life of a poor peasant boy made good as a successful business owner.  Senor da Silva's life unfolds in a non-linear, often-dreamlike fashion at times as we follow his life through the reading of his last will and testament.  The strength of this novel lies in its examination of  themes both broad and mundane. The author offers the reader a glimpse into the way in which the independence struggle affected the lives of the ordinary businessmen and local politicians as da Silva struggles to position himself to prosper however the struggle might end up.  Far more interesting, though, is the investigation by da Silva's illegitimate daughter (suprise!) into a mysterious (and perhaps fantastical) love obsession named Adelia.  As the details surrounding Adelia are slowly revealed, a melancholy shadow falls over the life of da Silva as he grapples with love, rejection and loss.   The reader is left to wonder: was Adelia actually real or was she a mad creation by a man unable to find his place in Cape Verdean society and life in general?

*One of my Reading Around the Continent books--the full list is here.
 **See our 20162015 and 2014 Reading Lists.

My notes:

35  political independence struggles

37   identity within the independence struggle//Araujo finds himself changed after traveling abroad
39   positives and negatives of technology
42   dreams of service and global aspirations
80   people's pleasure of cheating the state of its money
84   on the weight of solitude
87-88    idealization of Adelia
91   enough to know you exist
92-3   "life is a naked woman" linked to his fear of impotence
95   no one can live in our pain
96   In Praia Branca--the people are all witches
98-99   'sic transit gloria mundi' --- 'thus passes the glory of the world' or 'worldly things are fleeting' his triumph over Adelia
103   nothing more challenging for a man than making love for the 1st time//also examines the idea of a memory stripping one bare
128   author's thesis on the culture of San Vincente
134   Was Adelia real?  She was never found...
137   Dona Chica denies him ever loving any other women
145   Araujo gets swept up in events and is afraid of his pasts
150   a sad lonely ending for Araujo--in essense, paying for his sins
152   last words: "watch out for the door Adelia"

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