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Saudade by Suneeta Peres da Costa
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Saudade, I must confess, had a bit of novelty value for me because I’d never read anything from Angola before, and knew almost nothing about the country except that it was a former Portuguese colony somewhere in Southern Africa. Wikipedia came to the rescue so now I know that it is bordered by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Its people endured the common African route to independence: civil war between pro- and anti-communist groups after the declaration of independence in 1975 with interference from foreign powers (the USSR and the US), aided and abetted by their allies (Cuba and South Africa). Since 2002, it has become a relatively stable state, whatever that means…
Suneeta Peres da Costa is a Sydney author and playwright, born to parents of Goan origin. Saudade (which means melancholy, nostalgia and yearning in Portuguese) is her third title, following her debut novel Homework (1999) and Safran und Salz (2002). Saudade is a young girl’s coming of age story, set in Angola in 1961 as it confronts independence, a reprise of the situation when her parents fled Goa which was also a Portuguese colony until India annexed it in 1961. As civil unrest escalates, the characters all experience saudade… Maria Christina sees it in her boyfriend Miguel’s ‘s face:
Awake, this face was full of sadness, a saudade – a lostness, a feeling of not having a place in the world.
Complicating matters is the repressive authoritarian regime (1932-1968) under Salazar in Portugal. The Portuguese Colonial War (a.k.a. The War of Liberation, 1961-1974) began under Salazar’s rule and it was only when there was a military coup in Portugal that the war came to an end. Miguel’s parents, like Maria’s, had left political trouble to come to Angola yet now they did not know how to return to a life they had forgotten. Maria’s family monitors Salazar’s state of health because they are hoping he will die.
To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2018/05/05/saudade-by-suneeta-peres-da-costa-bookreview/ ( )
  anzlitlovers | May 5, 2018 |
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