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 splurgedone good suit was good enough for himand 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 alouda marathon task on a hot afternoon which exhausts reader after readerthere'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.