Germano Almeida ✓ 0 eviewI think what I appreciated most about this book was the style and the language The person would shift from third narrator to first whoever the narrator was talking about mid paragraph and there was something about that style that led to a eally interesting fluidity to the prose The story itself is not that compelling There is also a ape scene mid novel that made me unsure I eally wanted to continue with the story simply because of how casually it was handled by the author as casually as describing any other action in the novel I ead this book with little knowledge of Cape Verde and would have perhaps gotten out of it with a deeper cultural context to the story but I m not convinced Though this book is uite short only about 150 pages it left me with a lot to think about It tells the life story of one Napumoceno da Silva Araujo a espected and ich Cape Verdean businessman who died at a very old age and left a shocking will that was over 300 pages long and beueathed everything to the bastard daughter no one knew he hadThe story particularly in the beginning describing the funeral is extremely funny in its way It is also notable for showing how various people s perceptions of the same events can be so different as to be come almost unrecognizable Araujo s nephew for instance through his eyes is a slimy arrogant deceitful Uriah Heep type character but his newfound cousin Maria de Graca sees him as a likable enough man who bears no grudge against her and they become friendly with each otherNormally I can t stand overlong paragraphs and un on sentences in books and this book had plenty of both but for some eason I didn t mind this time I didn t think I would enjoy eading this nearly as much as I did
I wish could seek out the author s other novels but none of them have been translated into English This book was interesting to me in that it took place in a location with which I was unfamiliar the Republic of Cape Verde and it was a style of writing that I had not eally ead before The first thing I had to do was to find out something about Cape Verde The Republic of Cape Verde is a group of 10 small islands in the central Atlantic Ocean about 350 miles off the coast of Western Africa The islands are volcanic in origin A few of them are fairly flat and others are ocky with some vegetation but in general they tend to be dry and not very verdant The native language is Portuguese and this book was originally written in that language and translated into uite a few other languages prior to being available in EnglishThe islands were uninhabited when discovered by the Portuguese in the 1400 s and became central to the African slave trade The islands were also popular with pirates and were visited by Charles Darwin in 1832 I wonder if he found any interesting species there as the islands are so isolated from any other mainland The islands have few natural esources but overall the literacy ate is high the economy and politics are stable Tourism is a main industry About 500000 people mostly of creole ethnicity live among these islands todayThis story was not the most scintillating but I enjoyed it while still wishing just a bit that I could finish it and get on to something else But I learned so many things along the way like where the Cape Verde islands #are and even what the word creole eally meansA creole language is a #and even what the word creole eally meansA creole language is a full fledged language that originated. New Directions is proud to introduce the masterwork of Cape Verde's greatest living writer Germano Almeida an ironic and original tragic comedy from a new voice in African literature Everyone in Cape Verde knows Señor da Silva Successful entrepreneur owner of the island's first automobile a most serious upright and self made businessman Señor da Silva is the local success story Born an orphan he never married he never splurged; one good suit was good enough for him; and he never wandered from the straight and narrow Or so everyone thought From a pidgin So a Portuguese based creole is based on Portuguese language originally but has morphed over time to become a stable language of its but has morphed over time to become a stable language of its Creole is also a word that describes the people living in a place like Cape Verde they are of Portuguese descent but were born and aised in the colony I did not ealize that creole had such a broad meaning I had never heard the term applied to anyone but the Louisiana creole but there are creole people and creole languages all over the world The languages of Haiti Mauritius the Seychelles Barbados Liberia and Papua New Guinea are all considered to be creoleThe story is humorous but also a little sad Sr Napumoceno did not have as fulfilling a life as he could have and never was able to find a wife I think he was not craving children but he did think a great deal about getting married I found him to be an odd duck a person who spent much time thinking but little time sharing his thoughts with others or developing close elationships Much of this comes out in his lengthy last will and testament The Last Will and Testament of Senhor da Silva Ara jo translated from the Portuguese by Sheila Faria Glaser is my book from Cape Verde for the Read The World challenge For those who don t knowand i wish
Verde is island nation an archipelago off the coast of Africa at about the point where the continent projects furthest into the Atlantic It was uninhabited until the Portuguese started using it as a trading port I learn from Wikipedia and the population is largely of mixed European and African originThat history may explain why it feels like a book from Latin America than from Africa I would be #hard pressed to explain exactly what I mean by that a sense that the European cultural #pressed to explain exactly what I mean by that a sense that the European cultural is deeply embedded is part of it although I can t immediate articulate what makes me say that It may be no than the fact that the book is full of names like Senhor da Silva Ara jo of courseThe book tells the story of a self made local businessman it starts with the eading of his will which eveals unexpected news and moves back and forward through his life building up into complex portrait It s short 151 pages but nicely written wryly humorous and open to the absurdities as well as the tragedies of the human condition Senhor Napumoceno da Silva Ara jo s funeral was conducted with great solemnity as befitted a man of his bearing and demeanour for he was after all a leading business figure in Mindelo the archipelago of Cabo Verde The Chief mourner his nephew Carlos conducted himself with dignity and poise he was Senhor Napumoceno s Sole heir Sadly Senhor Napumoceno had never found time in his extremely busy and convoluted world of business and women for a mundane act such as marriage he always pushed it out of his mind He was dapper and of course very very ich women he knew would come flocking and they didCarlos took his ole of the Sole heir very seriously and on the day of the funeral nobody could have faulted his grief One of the stipulations in a letter to him was that instead of a brass band playing as was customary at every funeral in Cabo Verde Beethoven s Marcha Funebre should be played Now that was a terribly difficult undertaking for Carlos nobody even knew what Beethoven s Marcha Funebre was but Carlos with his customary tenacity did manage to get a ecording of the Marcha Funebre Carlos was determined that his uncle Napumoceno da Sil. Ut when Señor da Silva's 387 page Last Will and Testament is ead aloud; a marathon task on a hot afternoon which exhausts eader after eader; there's eye opening news and not just for the smug nephew so certain of inheriting all Señor da Silva's property With his will Señor da Silva leaves a memoir that is a touching web of elaborate self deceptions He desired so ardently to prosper to be taken seriously to join perhaps if they'll have him the exclusive Grémio country club and most of all to be a good man And yet shady deals twists of ,cape verde is
Va Ara jo should lack for nothing on his last earthly voyageBut the show must go on the intricacies of business wait for no man so on the very next day a very suave Carlos went to his Uncle s Office Carlos esponded to the polite Bom Dia Senhor Carlos at his Uncle s Office with gravity but hey did you notice the spring in his step The air of nonchalance The little jaunt to the hipsCarlos enters the sanctum sanctorum Napumoceno da Silva Ara jo s Office and then caution to the winds decorum forgotten Carlos is full of glee the old man is dead Dead and I am his Sole heir How would his own portrait look instead of that of the old fossil But wait a minute Carlos there is this tedious business the eading of the Testament The formal eading began in the evening and there seemed no end to it it was as though Napumoceno da Silva Ara jo did not want his heirs to inherit a sou without they being aware of the trajectory his entire life had taken So he began with his extremely humble beginnings he meandered through his ise in business with digressions into his many liaisons with women Poor Carlos had suggested that he ead the Testament in the peace and uiet of his house Unethical said the Notary you have to ead it in the Testament in the peace and uiet of his house Unethical said the Notary you have to ead it in the of the witnesses and everyone has to sign So they ead and ead The Notary confessed to his throat being dry The witnesses took over eading it went onevery little detail of his long life But just a minute just when it seemed to be only a dreary narration of events Napumoceno springs a surprise that kills any hopes that Carlos ever had of being his Sole heir Napumoceno has an illegitimate daughter Maria de Gra a daughter of his housekeeper Dona Chica and it is she and not Carlos who would inherit his wealth What went wrong how did the elationship with Carlos sour Was it because Napumoceno saw in Carlos eyes the same hunger that he Napumoceno used to have Yes Napumoceno never trusted Carlos for they were so alike Did Napumoceno have liaisons with other women Oh yes many But the love of his life was Adelia the beautiful Adelia who strangely disappears In addition to his vast heritage Napumoceno beueaths his daughter Maria de Gra a a collection of his audio tapes where he describes his life in minute detail never omitting a single event Maria de Gra a tries to piece her father s life with these tapes but like any person s life the narrative has lacunae that she is unable to fill On the other hand her uest and her desire to learn about her father brings her closer to Carlos her cousin and Dona Eduarda the new housekeeperGermano Almeida the author of this wonderful book wants to show his audience that parallel worlds do exist in our society and in our lives This he does admirably with wit and sarcasmThe desperate battle of a boy with no shoes who comes to S o Vicente to get ich but forgets that his nephew Carlos has the same desire Forgets how Carlos works so very hard to make the business a huge success and very ungratefully disinherits himLike so very many ich people Napumoceno loves to give but the ecipient should be eternally grateful never should the ecipient forget When he died Senhor Napumoceno was a much espected businessman a man of integrity a serious man with no vices When the Testament is ead he is evealed a much different person He is evealed #A Being With #human being with his myriad faults but also his many strengths Aren t we all same. Ate an illegitimate child such is the lot of poor self critical Señor da Silva A bit like Calvino's Mr Palomar in his attention to protocol and in his terror of life's passions; a bit like Svevo's Zeno a little pompous a little old fashioned and often hapless Señor da Silva moves along a deliciously blurry line between farce and tragedy a self important buffoon becomes a fully human even tragic figure in the arc of this hilarious and touching novel translated into Spanish German French Italian Dutch Norwegian Swedish and now at last English.