Today marks the UK publication of Dulce Maria Cardoso’s dazzling coming-of-age pocket masterpiece, The Return. Translated by Ángel Gurría Quintana, and based in part on the author’s own childhood experiences, The Return is the story of a young boy, Rui, and his family’s return to the mysterious Motherland following the Angolan War of Independence.
Rui is fifteen years old. He has lived in Luanda all his life and has never even visited the far-away Motherland, although he has heard many stories. Long after their neighbours have packed and left, his family are accepting that they too must return. But just before they leave for the airport, Rui’s father is arrested, and the family must go on without him.
On arrival in Portugal, Rui, his mother and sister are crammed into a luxury hotel by the sea, along with hundreds of other families. But these families are hardly welcome back in the Motherland, and as he tries to find his way in this new, uncertain life, Rui must also confront his mother’s rapidly declining health and the lingering spectre of his father’s unknowable fate.
Curiosity piqued? You’re in luck! Read an opening extract here.