My Father’s Wives
Author: José Eduardo Agualusa
Translator: Daniel Hahn
Original language: Portuguese
Published by: Arcadia Books, 2008
My Father’s Wives is a novel about women, music and magic, in which reality and fiction run side by side, the former feeding into the latter.
Upon his death the famous Angolan composer Faustino Manso left seven widows and eighteen children. His youngest daughter, Laurentina, a filmmaker, tries to reconstruct the late musician’s turbulent life.
However, in the territories José Eduardo Agualusa crosses, fiction plays a part in reality too. The four characters in the novel which the author is writing as he travels accompany him from Luanda, the capital of Angola, to Beguile and Namibe. They cross the Namibian sands and their ghost towns, reaching Cape Town in South Africa. Then they continue on to Maputo and from Maputo to Quelimane beside the Bon Sinai’s river, and thence to the Island of Mozambique. As they drift on they cross landscapes that border dreams, landscapes from which – here and there – the strangest characters emerge.