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Last Will And Testament Of Senor Da Silva [Paperback]

Germano Almeida , Glaser Sheila

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Book Description

June 28 2004 New Directions Paperbook
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.

But when Señor da Silva's 387-page Last Will and Testament is read aloud—a marathon task on a hot afternoon which exhausts reader after reader—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 fate, 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.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions (June 28 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811215652
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811215657
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,853,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richness within the island Dec 22 2007
By Ladyce West - Published on Amazon.com
"The Testament of Senhor da Silva Araujo" is a book of surprises. Araujo's discreet life in one of the islands that make up Cabo Verde's archipelago shows itself to be complex and certainly rambunctious when he details it in his last will, using no fewer than 387 pages to disclose his doings. Such ease in writing had never before been guessed at by the islanders. His discourses on his family members, his employers, his employees, and above all his detailed and methodical unraveling of a life full of--until now unknown--love affairs, is met with disbelief. That his fortune is not left to his nephew as expected but to an out-of-wedlock daughter with a former employee is shocking. And from event to event, from specific requests for his funeral arrangements to suggested business methods that might be just on the outside of the law, we are able to view the life of Cabo Verde, a country of 10 islands, divided into small towns, distant from each other by a lot of sea, and divided in 300,000 inhabitants.

Araujo very easily stands for Cabo Verde itself. His solitude, methodical manners, controlled and reclusive life keep him insulated from the town. Even after becoming a very successful business man he was still rejected by the local club. The void around his life is sensed everywhere. But when dies, and his will detailing his adventures is read, we and his neighbors and acquaintances discover that his life within was different, very different. Richer in excitement. Fuller in emotions. He lived indeed as an island, isolated, no one knew the Napumoceno within.

In an interview given to Fernando Nunes of "ZonaNon: revista de cultura crítica", in 2003, Germano Almeida described the independence Cabo Verde in 1975, as having been a "true revolution" causing an unbelievable growth from 1975 to 1990 that had not been foreseen and certainly had surpassed expectations. The country grew at a much higher rate than in the 500 years Cabo Verde was Portugal's colony. This exultation about Cabo Verde's inner potential, inner abilities, is akin to those we discover in Araujo's world. Richer than expected, even though no one believed it or could imagine it.

But this is not a political book. This is not a historical book. This is the portrait of a man in his complexity, someone like our neighbors, like our friends and family. People we believe we know, who all of a sudden, unexpectedly, show a different side that had only been lived and carried on within.

Germano Almeida received in 2005 the award -- Fundação Casa da Cultura de Língua Portuguesa -- an award given every two years to distinguish personalities or institutions that have notably promoted Portuguese Speaking Cultures in the world. The award was established in 1990, by Oporto University.
4.0 out of 5 stars A delightful little book, surprisingly deep and in some places hilarious Aug. 26 2012
By Meaghan - Published on Amazon.com
Though this book is quite 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 respected and rich Cape Verdean businessman who died at a very old age and left a shocking will that was over 300 pages long and bequeathed everything to the bastard daughter no one knew he had.

The story, particularly in the beginning describing the funeral, is extremely funny in its way. The book 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 (holding no grudge against her, although he had expected to inherit and she got it all instead), and they become friendly with each other.

Normally I can't stand overlong paragraphs and run-on sentences in books, and this book had plenty of both, but for some reason I didn't mind this time. I didn't think I would enjoy reading this nearly as much as I did, and I wish I could seek out the author's other novels, but none of them have been translated into English and I can't read Portuguese.

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