Since I started blogging I noticed that I started to read fewer works by portuguese authors and I wanted to fix it, but without hurting the blog, because as most of the books written by portuguese authors aren’t translated there was no point of reviewing them, and as I’m not the fastest reader, I was afraid that the blog wouldn’t have content for a long time. Finally I worked that out (especially because the blog is supposed to enlarge my reading horizons and not shrink them), but I couldn’t be more delighted to find (thanks Kinna for sharing!) this short story by a portuguese writer translated to English, because that way I could blog about it, and share with you a bit of portuguese literature.
Let me confess to you that before reading Kinna’s post I had never heard about Teolinda Gersão, and that was what made me curious to go and have a look at the short story.
The Woman Who Stole the Rain tells the story of business man who during his business trip to Lisbon, in the midst of his luxurious suite of a 5 stars hotel, manages to “travel” to a poor village in Africa through eavesdropping the conversation between to housekeepers.
What I liked more about this short story was not the plot itself, but the feeling that it gives to you. In a moment you are in a fancy hotel room, in the other you are in an African village devastated by drought. Since the beginning of this second narrative you get the feeling that this story is going to end up badly, and well it does.
This short story, in a few pages, manages to capture the differences between our privilege world and the hard life many people live in Africa and other places. It strikes you, really, as it striked the narrator. You can really sense the cultures clash.
Teolinda Grasão’s writing style is fluid, linear and straight forward, there aren’t any flourishes, which goes really well with the story and the message that she is trying to pass.
“I smiled to myself when I saw just where I had ended up, thanks to this lack of efficiency, a lack which the manager appeared to attribute to the workings of fate or chance.” (I founded this one funny because it characterizes really well the state of mind of several portuguese)
“And then, suddenly, I had opened one of the doors and found, in the next room, a piece of Africa, perfectly intact, like an area of virgin jungle. For seven minutes, exactly seven minutes, I had been lost in the jungle.”