a nutshell: this gripping child’s-eye-view story follows a family’s fragmented relocation from Luanda to Lisbon amidst the Angolan War of Independence in 1975
a line: “the empire was there, in that waiting room, a tired empire, in need of house and food, a defeated and humiliated empire, an empire no-one wanted to know about”
an image: the scene in which Rui, the young narrator, watches his dog run behind the family car as they flee Angola was very heart-breaking, especially since I (comparatively trivially, of course) said goodbye to a much-much-much-loved pet last year when moving to another country
a thought: I was impressed by how Cardoso made me feel both sympathy and disdain for the returnees simultaneously; the ongoing ‘purgatory’ atmosphere for the kids scraping by while waiting to hear of relatives’ fates was hard to read – but so too was the ignorant racism exhibited by the former colonialists, even the children
a fact: the author grew up in Angola before leaving for Portugal in similar war-induced circumstances as her child protagonist; please send tips of Angolan women writers for me to read next!
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