Friday, July 05, 2013

"The boundless resistance of the human imagination": The Independent Reviews Mia Couto

Environmental biologist and Camões Prize-winning
author Mia Couto was featured in today's issue of
The Independent.
There was a spectacular review of Mia Couto's The Tuner of Silences in today's Independent. "Born in Mozambique to Portuguese parents," writes Zoe Norridge, "Couto is one of the lusophone world's most admired writers. Given his commitment to anti-colonial politics, it is tempting to read The Tuner of Silences as allegory: an imaginary world echoing the harsh realities of the Mozambican liberation struggle and subsequent civil war. But it is not a straightforward national critique. Instead, the parameters of the novel are both worldly and intimate. While Couto heads his chapters with poetry from both Latin America and Europe, the resounding focus of the narrative is the family unit. And, above all, the boundless resistance of the human imagination in the face of forgetting and loss."

Couto, of course, recently won the Camões Prize for Portuguese-language literature. He's "often referred to as a magical realist," Norridge continues, "But the mystical remains stubbornly absent from this book. Instead, the other-worldliness of the novel is created entirely by the dreams and delusions of its protagonists. Lovers of African literature may find resonance here between Couto's writing and JM Coetzee's new novel, The Childhood of Jesus. Both turn away from the present to reflect on the ethics of our interactions with others and the parameters of our internal worlds. While Couto's work is ultimately more joyful, The Tuner of Silences remains a sad novel of poetic brilliance – haunting in its human landscape."

Lovely. Just lovely. For the full review please click here.

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