The Madwoman of Serrano by Dina Salústio (tr. Jethro Soutar)

a nutshell: digging deep into what it is to be a woman, this is the mystical story of the Serranoans – villagers whose lives are rooted in the prophecies (or not?) of a marginalised madwoman

a line: “She understood that in Serrano women who were witches were happier than women who weren’t. Or less unhappy at least.”

an image: amid the passage about the Serrano cats’ fertility, the mention of their special cat huts (with five evenly distributed alcoves where they could sleep) is one of the many eccentric asides of this novel

a thought: as a lifelong fan of the magical realism genre and all its accompanying dreamy timelessness, Serrano was a treat – a place that could go dozens of decades without adding so much as a comma to its annals, as Salústio writes, and where history repeated itself to the loop of the sun & the moon

a fact: this is the first novel by a woman to be published in Cape Verde, and the first to be translated into English thanks to the ever wonderful English PEN’s PEN Translates programme

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