‘The Last Will and Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújo’ by Germano Almeida

Writing your life takes on new meaning in this intriguing tale by Cape Verdean author, Germano Almeida.

When respected businessman Mr Napumoceno passes away, he leaves behind a will of more than three hundred pages. As required by law, the entire document is read aloud, hinting from the outset at a tension between the written word and oral tradition in a society where the latter is sacred.

Along a meandering journey through the past, the novel’s many narratives become deeply entwined. A plethora of voices compete to be heard, whilst contradictory accounts of episodes of the businessman’s life pose questions about authority and veracity.

Ultimately, when the polyphonic cacophony is stripped back, at the heart there is absence. Maria de Graça, who has just found out she is the daughter of the late Mr Napumoceno, strives to track down another absent character – his former lover, Adélia.

This is a sporadic, unpredictable and enjoyable read.

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