Germano Almeida

Cape Verde

© J.A. Salvador

 

 

Almeida was born on the island of Boavista in 1945. At the age of 18 he went to Lisbon and later studied law. He now lives in São Vicente on the Cape Verde islands and works as a lawyer. When Germano Almeida’s book The Last Will and Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújo (“O testamento do Sr. Napumoceno da Silva Araújo”) was published in 1991, Portuguese critics were unanimous in their view that this was a great moment for Cape Verdean literature. Moreover, Germano Almeida is the winner of the 2018 Camões Prize for Literature, the most prestigious international award honoring the work of Portuguese language writers.

 

 

With The Faithful Dead ("O fiel defunto "), Almeida offers a snappy satire on the cultural scene in his Cape Verde homeland. Miguel Lopes Macieira, the island's best-known and most-translated author, is shot dead by his friend Edmundo de Rosário at the launch of his first new book after years of silence. The jealous drama is centred on Matilde, thirty years younger than Macieira and loved by both men. The novel is less about solving a crime than about human relationships and how state and church want to share in the writer's popularity. Finally it is Mariza, Macieira’s former companion who had always come second to literature during his lifetime, who gets the author's will out of the safe. Around the sometimes grotesquely exaggerated events, Almeida creates a small cosmos of lovable characters with their own stories. Its language of a humorous, empathic narrative makes the novel unmistakable.

 

Germano Almeida returns with his ironic style, with a book that seems to be a crime novel, but isn‘t. It‘s a look at the world of the living, from Cape Verde.

Jornal de Negocios

 

In his novels, Almeida unmasks the hypocrisy of public and private morality in the Republic of Cape Verde (and elsewhere). His most effective artistic tool is humour: Almeida is a master of all arts of literary comedy and his observations on society are sharpened by irony and sarcasm, puns and slap-stick-like situation comedy.

The Last Will and Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújo (“O testamento do Sr. Napumoceno da Silva Araújo”) is a highly witty and entertaining book telling about the life of a rich old-school macho on the Cape Verde islands. Amusingly enough, this man owes his economic and social progress to thousands of umbrellas which he once ordered by mistake. No one on the islands ever really needed an umbrella since it hardly ever rains. Fortunately though, this day the heavens were understanding and tore open just at the right moment...

In 2004 the novel was mentioned in the London Times Literary Supplement as one of the Best Books of the Year by Pankaj Mishra:

Germano Almeida’s The Last Will and Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújo introduced me to a writer of great comic gifts.

The Last Will and Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújo is the predecessor of the great novel My Poet (“O meu poeta”). Almeida’s third novel is entitled The Fantastic Island (“A ilha fantástica”) and in 1995 he published The Two Brothers (“Os dois irmãos”), a gripping story about a case of fratricide.

 

In his new novel, Eva, Luís Henriques and Reinaldo, the narrator, are roaming the streets of Lisbon at night in December 2000. The occasion for their meeting is Eva. Both know her, and both know of each other from Eva’s stories. 25 years ago, she was Luís Henriques’ first love. Now he is curious to find out about this other man in her life. Is he a friend, or even a lover? The backdrop is Lisbon, from the 1960s onward to the Carnation Revolution, and the challenging life on Cape Verde against the background of more recent political developments. From a strictly Catholic bourgeois parental home, Eva moved to Lisbon to go to university, evidently exerting an irresistable charm on the male sex. Here she gets caught up in politics and meets and falls in love with Luís Henriques. After she returns to Cape Verde, she marries the candid Zé Manel without further ado, but embarks on a relationship with Reinaldo. Is it Eva, ultimately, who pulls the strings in all these relationships? The two men are faced with ever more questions and many remain unanswered when they part.

As in previous novels, Germano Almeida knows how to use a priceless story to tell the history of the Cape Verde Islands and their peoples.

 

 

 

 

Rights:

 

Novels:

The Faithful Dead (”O fiel Defunto“)

Lisbon: Caminho 2018, 328 p.

Mexico: Arlequín

 

Regresso ao Paraíso

Lisbon Caminho 2016, 296 p.

 

From the Cara Hill You Can See the World (”Do monte Cara -se o mundo“)

Lisbon: Caminho 2014, 432 p.

 

The Death of the Magistrate (”A morte do ouvidor“)

Lisbon: Caminho 2010, 382 p.

 

Eva

Lisbon: Caminho 2006, 276 p.

Cuba: Arte y Literatura 2009

 

The Sea at Lajinha (”O mar na Lajinha“)

Lisbon: Caminho 2004, 275 p.

 

Memoirs of a Spirit (”As memórias de um espírito“)

Lisbon: Caminho 2001, 319 p.

 

The Day of Rolled-Up Trousers (”O dia das calças roladas“)

Lisbon: Caminho 1999, 156.p

 

Dona Pura and the April Comrades (”Dona Pura e os camaradas de abril)

Lisbon: Caminho 1999, 226 p.

Italy: Urogallo Spain: Cobre 2002

 

The Trago Family (”A família Trago“)

Lisbon: Caminho 1998, 329 p.

Netherlands: De Geus 2002 Sweden: Tranan 2001

 

The Two Brothers (”Os dois irmãos“)

Lisbon: Caminho 1995, 238 p.

Cuba: Arte y Literatura 2005 German: WDR 2008 (audio drama) Italy: Nuova Frontiera 2005 Spain: Bronce 2002

 

The Fantastic Island (”A ilha fantástica“)

Lisbon: Caminho 1994, 223 p.

Spain: Cobre 2003

 

My Poet (”O meu poeta“)

Ilhéu 1989, Lisbon: Caminho 1992, 349 p.

Film rights sold

 

The Last Will and Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújo (”O testamento do Sr. Napumoceno“)

Lisbon: Caminho 1991, 167 p.

Film version 1996, Prize as “Best Film”, August 1997, at Brazil’s most important film festival in Gramado

Brazil: Companhia das Letras 1996 Bulgaria: Five Plus 2009 Colombia: Uniandes Denmark:Husets 2002 France: Sepia 1995 Italy: AIEP 1996 German: Fischer 1997, Unionsverlag 2014 Netherlands: De Geus 2000 Norway: Cappelen 2001 Spain: Bronce 2000; Txalaparta (Basque Country) Sweden: Tranan 1999 US: New Directions 2004

 

 

Stories:

Estórias contadas

Lisbon: Caminho 1998, 250 p.

 

Indoors Stories (”Estórias de dentro de casa“)

Lisbon: Caminho 1996, 205 p.

Spain: Txalaparta 2003

 

 

Short prose:

Cabo Verde. Viagem pela história das ilhas

Lisbon: Caminho 2003, 273 p.

 

Participation in anthologies:

Germany: Wagenbach 2010