Everyone in Cape Verde knows Senor da Silva. Successful entrepreneur, owner of the island's first automobile, a most serious, upright, and self-made businessman, Senor da Silva is the local success story. Born an orphan, he never married, he never splurged--one good suit was good enough for him--and he never wandered from the straight and narrow. Or so everyone thought. But when Senor da Silva's 387-page Last Will and Testament is read aloud--a marathon task on a hot afternoon which exhausts reader after reader--there's eye-opening news, and not just for the smug nephew so certain of inheriting all Senor da Silva's property. With his will, Senor da Silva leaves a memoir that is a touching web of elaborate self-deceptions. He desired so ardently to prosper, to be taken seriously, to join (perhaps, if they'll have him) the exclusive Gremio country club, and, most of all, to be a good man. And yet, shady deals, twists of fate, an illegitimate child: such is the lot of poor, self-critical Senor da Silva. A bit like Calvino's Mr. Palomar in his attention to protocol and in his terror of life's passions; a bit like Calvino's Mr. Palomar in his attention to protocol and in his terror of life's passions; a bit like Svevo's Zeno (a little pompous, a little old-fashioned, and often hapless), Senor da Silva moves along a deliciously blurry line between farce and tragedy: a self-important buffoon becomes a fully human, even tragic, figure in the arc of this hilarious and touching novel - translated into Spanish, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, and now, at last, English.
"Germano Almeida uses a very sophisticated, humorous, but at the same time melancholic style [and] offers a miniscule inventory of daily life, of social conventions and habits of Cape Verde....Like the singer Cesaria Evora the work of Germano Almeida surprises us with the essential richness of his world and its proximity and vigor."