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MY FATHER’S WIVES by José Eduardo Agualusa in paperback at 16.80 euros.
Upon his death, the celebrated Angolan composer and musician, Faustino Manso, left seven widows and 18 children scattered across southern Africa.
His youngest daughter, Laurentina, a filmmaker, arrives in Angola from her home in Portugal to trace the story of the father she never knew and his turbulent life.
In My Father’s Wives, reality and fiction run side by side as the story of Laurentina’s journey runs in parallel with Jose Eduardo Agualusa’s story of the novel’s genesis.
The four characters in the novel, which the author is writing as he travels, accompany him from Luanda, the Angolan capital, to Benguela and Namibe. They cross the Namibian sands and their ghost towns, reaching Cape Town. They carry on to Maputo, then Quelimane beside the Bon Sinais River, and thence to the island of Mozambique.
They cross landscapes that border dreams, landscapes from which – here and there – the strangest and most fascinating characters emerge.
My Father’s Wives is a novel about women, music and magic in Africa, a continent afflicted by terrible problems but blessed with a talent for music, by the strength of its women and the secret power of ancient gods.
José Eduardo Agualusa was born in Huambo, Angola in 1960. For a number of years, he lived in Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro but has now returned to Angola.
He is the author of The Book Of Chameleons, winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2007. His previous work includes Creole, which has evoked comparisons to Brice Chatwin’s The Viceroy of Ouidah, was awarded the Portuguese Grand Prize for Literature, and is a bestseller in Angola, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.