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Conjurer and Other Azorean Tales

Darrell Kastin

Publication Year: 2012

Born from the fertile volcanic soil and the sea and mists surrounding the Azorean islands, the characters who inhabit these stories blend realism with magic. Like the nine Muses, each island has its own special attributes. Whether searching for love, power, or meaning, these characters are subject to the whims of Fate and Fortune. Here the commonplace present confronts forces both natural and supernatural. In the Azorean microcosm, they come to represent a far larger sphere, embodying the foibles and idiosyncrasies of humanity the world over.

Published by: Tagus Press at UMass Dartmouth

Series: Portuguese in the Americas Series

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

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The Conjurer

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pp. 1-10

“Nothing is impossible,” Valdemar Coutinho explained to his grandson. “With hope, an open mind, and imagination, we can find a way to recapture some of the life that has passed by, forgotten shards of memory, lost dreams.” ...

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The Last Troubadour of Lusitania

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pp. 11-14

There is a legend, now lost to the extreme vicissitudes of time, that long ago in the area between the Azores and the continent of Portugal lay the most fertile and beautiful of lands. This was long before Portugal was yet a country, when the Lusitanians, a mysterious Celtic tribe, then inhabited the region. ...

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Dona Leonor’s Dress

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pp. 15-19

Dona Leonor’s irrepressible dress swept down the Avenida Diogo de Teive as if caught by a sudden covetous wind. Marveling at the playfulness of the dress, the way it fluttered and rippled ceaselessly, I followed, determined not to let it out of my sight. ...

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Alfredo’s Timeless Death

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pp. 20-28

Alfredo Bettencourt spoke about his impending death so often and for so long that everyone living in the village of Quebrado do Caminho became swept up in the excitement and expectation that grew with each passing day, week, and month. ...

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Maria Almeida’s Miraculous Fate

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pp. 29-36

The truth, or rather the entire truth, it is safe to say, will never be known — at least not with any certainty. Some say that the day Maria Leonor Almeida washed up on the sands of Quebrado do Caminho was the day the devil rose from his foul depths to plague the village. ...

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The Witches and the Fisherman

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pp. 37-42

In the small fishing village of Povoação, on the island of São Miguel, no one had to ask who was the best fisherman. Miguel Luís Reis always brought in the largest catch and, according to Domingos Braga, who supplied most of the fishermen with drink, it was all because of the witches. ...

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The Thief of Santa Inês

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pp. 43-50

In the tiny Azorean village of Santa Inês, on the island of Pico, no one could remember when anyone had ever been accused of stealing more than a chicken or a knife. Nor did anyone remember when the cell in the city hall had ever been inhabited, other than by an occasional drunk. ...

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The Newest Star

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pp. 51-60

Mario stared, entranced, while before his very eyes Joana Medroso made her way down the hill, floating several inches off the ground. She looked no different from the other girls her own age, but Mario knew she wasn’t like any of them. ...

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The Secret Place

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pp. 61-69

Emilio Borges disembarked at the wharf in Madalena and walked stiffly to the bus, struggling to hide the pain that made him move with such difficulty. He carried a bag filled with a change of clothing and other belongings, from which a butterfly net protruded. ...

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The Blind Man of Praia Negra

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pp. 70-78

In the village of Praia Negra, the blind man, Timoteo, painted a furious sea with seven thousand white flashing teeth, in a frenzy, against the background of a black, hungry night. The teeth shattered and fell helplessly upon the black rocks of the islands and the sleek black sea. ...

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A Night on the Town

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pp. 79-86

For a short time after his death, Guilherme Gomes continued to practice his unrivaled brew of bad habits. He was even more than usually morose, for the realization that he had not reached paradise came as a huge disappointment. ...

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The Wounds

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pp. 87-92

The woman sat in her bed, propped up by huge heaps of heavy pillows. Blankets lay scattered every which way. She looked, to her husband, like a large, plucked bird tangled in a messy nest. ...

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The Lost Voice

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pp. 93-98

Celestino Azevedo had never stopped to think about his own voice. He always took it for granted, unless he strained it, or became sick and found it faltering. But he never thought he might lose it the way someone might lose a hat or a walking stick. ...

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Constança’s War with the Elements

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pp. 99-111

As the first tremors shook the earth, Constança Morais opened her eyes and rose from her bed for the first time in seven years. She scurried to the back door and called to her children, though her voice sounded like the rasp of an old gate that had rusted shut. ...

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The Exile

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pp. 112-122

Fernando Noronha grappled with the box that had arrived with the morning mail and brought it into the house. The mailman made some comment, but Fernando’s English was not good, and he was too excited and impatient to try to decipher what the man had said. ...

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Eduardo’s Promise

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pp. 123-130

The old woman scurried across the sand, back and forth. Every now and then she would stop, bend down, and poke a stick at something in the sand. Occasionally, she picked up something of interest. Some children passed by on the road and shouted at her. ...

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The Saint of Quebrado do Caminho

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pp. 131-140

Constantino Maldonado gazed down at the woman below him with prolonged embarrassment, at a complete loss to explain how, now that their lovemaking was over, he couldn’t uncouple himself. Though he struggled, they couldn’t separate. ...

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Night Magic

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pp. 141-165

There was something that kept people from looking into Gaspar’s eyes, an uneasiness they felt, which made them turn away. He was a composite of artificial limbs and missing pieces, of replacements and scars. He drew misfortune from the most unlikely places. ...

Other Works in the Series

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p. 177-177

E-ISBN-13: 9781933227429
E-ISBN-10: 1933227427
Print-ISBN-13: 9781933227412

Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Portuguese in the Americas Series