Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Tagus Press at UMass Dartmouth
Almost Gone — an important debut novel from a leading member of a new generation of Portuguese-American writers — is a tough, many-layered story that arises from the tough, many-layered lives of its characters, moving forward and backward in staccato grace between generations and their deeper drives and anxieties. ...
Each morning I awaken to the cheers of children as they slide down dunes on pieces of cardboard. I roll off my sagging mattress, scrub my hands under the brownish water in the cracked sink in the corner and look through the open window of the small room. The sand flies flit and buzz around me. I’ve disturbed them. ...
This could be the week that the money would run out. Catarina knew that she had to be conscious of that possibility. As she walked down Cuesta de Gomérez toward Placeta de la Miga, the air shimmered, a foggy curtain in the blazing heat. Her heels felt uneven, and it was hard not to trip on the cobblestones. ...
Away From the Mountains and Toward the Sea
Nuno sat inside the darkened bar at the Lusitania Club with the other men, who were mostly like himself, elderly and retired. On the television screen above them, players shoved and ran in bright uniforms across grass that kicked up behind them. Sometimes they fell to the ground, crying out as the crowd rose up in disbelief. ...
Claire never thought that Paulo would actually hit her. And he hadn’t hit her, she supposed. To be completely fair, he’d just let her fall down the stairs. He’d slapped his palms against her bare shoulders at the top of the stairs, and Claire pitched forward, missed the banister, and then rag-dolled down the steps. ...
Tonight, for some strange reason, Claire had come out of their bedroom and just stood there behind the couch. Lying there, a blanket covering his bare feet, his right hand on his crotch, Paulo knew before he turned around that she was biting her lip with her crooked front teeth, and that her right hand was on her hip, ...
There’s a lot I’ve been thinking about, obviously. I know you probably don’t want to hear about all of it, but Dr. Rich thinks this is a good idea. She’s been awesome, Scott. Before you were gone, since you’ve been gone. Talking to her is so good for me. She’s given me some stuff for my depression and my anxiety, too, so I’m doing better. ...
Just One Night
Nuno squeezed the letter so tightly that his hand shook. A loose wave of dizziness hit him, and he leaned against the wall. All around him, Helena’s old dresses hung silently, like old ghosts. ...
Catarina and Shannon sat outside of a café on Gran Via. The glossy tablecloth rippled in the wind, and the crescent moon looked as though it was made of the same white paper and fastened to the clouds. ...
Helena had considered poisoning his food. Well, maybe she hadn’t considered it, but she’d allowed herself to imagine it. Sometimes, while serving dinner, as Nuno just sat there with his arms outstretched on the table, she imagined him clutching at his chest, his face wrinkling in shock. ...
Hailey sips her coffee and squints at the horizon through the window. We pass boarded-up clam shacks and beach cabins as we speed down Old Succotash Road. Even the salt pond, skirted by patches of cracking ice, looks gray and deserted. ...
A Simple Thing
Paulo was almost sixteen, but he’d understood since he was eleven. It was after his first dream — which he wished had been about Isabella but was about Jenny, a girl from CCD class — that he realized what the sounds really were. In his dream he found himself on top of Jenny on the floor of a bright, crowded school hallway, ...
All He Needed
Nuno was sixteen when he met Mateo, and seventeen when it happened. Mateo had drifted into Lagos from somewhere else — maybe Cascais, or Estoril — and to the locals, it was obvious that he wasn’t born there. There were only two types of men in their small town: fishermen and footballers. Mateo was neither. ...
One Last Thing
Rui blinked. “Where is he,” he repeated softly, “where? I don’t know. They will bring him back here for the funeral. But you, what about you? Are you okay? Come here.” He reached out across the table for her hand but she flinched and rose, weightless suddenly, and glided through the screen door, the rusty squeak echoing in her mind. ...
You were the first one to speak to me, Helena. It was my ninth day here. The girls were taking a while to come around, but I knew it would happen eventually. I wasn’t worried. They either feel sorry for me, or they want to piss off their boyfriends or husbands. Sometimes, they just want the attention. ...
The television buzzes behind me. It seems like they only show sitcoms here; half-hour segments steeped in canned laughter and oblivion. I step closer to the bed and squeeze your right foot. It’s cold, even under the sheet. With my other hand I reach under my shirt and pinch the soft skin of my stomach to keep my voice level. ...
Portuguese In the Americas Series