José Eduardo Agualusa [ Angola, Brasil ]
José Eduardo Agualusa was born in Huambo, Angola, in 1960. He spent many years in Lisbon, and then moved to Rio de Janeiro. To date he has published four novels, a collection of short stories and a volume of poetry. He is also a freelance radio and newspaper journalist. For Agualusa, the Portuguese in which he writes is no longer the language of the former colonial powers, but »has become an African language by incorporating terms, expressions, the rhythms and the feelings of the people of Angola«.
Agualusa’s first novel, »A Conjura« (»The Conspiracy«) appeared in 1989. The central theme of this historical novel, set in Sao Paulo de Luanda between 1880 and 1911, is the merging of cultures in modern Angolan society. The author paints the portrait of a society shaped by contradictions, in which only those who adapt have any prospect of success, i.e. those who are open to other races and cultures. For Agualusa, the Creole minority is at the heart of this development. He belongs to this social group himself and describes its mounting self-confidence in his second novel, »A Feiro dos Assombrados« (»The Market of the Damned«), 1992, as the root of an Angolan »proto-nationalism«.
In 1993 Angualusa published »Lisboa Africana«, (»African Lisbon«) in collaboration with Fernando Semedo and the photographer Elza Rocha. This documents the varied cultural inroads which the African population have made into Portuguese society.~ In his 1996 contemporary novel »Estaçao das chuvas« (»The Rainy Season«) he weaves an autobiography, fact and fiction, into a sober social commentary around the invented life story of the Angolan poet and historian Lidia do Carmo Ferreira. The first-person narrator presents the reader with the devastating consequences of 30 years of fighting and civil war in a painfully vivid and troubling manner.
Agualusa borrowed the central character in his most ambitious novel, in terms of theme and formal composition, »Naçao Crioula«, 1997, from an epistolary novel by the great Portuguese writer Eça de Queiroz (1845-1900). He broadens the stimulating literary exercise by prejecting the perspective of the colony of Angola on Europe and on Brazil, which was mainly colonised by settlers sailing from Angola. Most recently Agualusa published "Passageiros em Trânsito" (2006). His works have been translated into several European languages.
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