“All women in my house – perhaps with the exception of female cats, and even of these I am not sure – reacted with a smile when they saw me reading this novel. What they meant was: oh, poor you, why must you read that? However, as soon as I left “José Rodrigues dos Santos” unattended – even if only for a couple of minutes – one of the girls would immediately grab it with her carefully manicured hands and would feel offended whenever I demanded it back. I had to fight for this book in a way I don’t remember having fought for a book in recent years.
This episode alone is enough to convey the quality of the novel, but I would like to add a few other reasons why you (yes, I mean you personally) should read The Captain’s Daughter.
Life is a mysterious road. One day, each of us finds on it his love, some at an abandoned crossroads, others at the end of the road. And there are those sentenced to eternally look for it – people like Captain Afonso da Silva Brandão and the beautiful Agnès Chevallier, who were meant for each other. Does this sound a bit pathetic? Believe me, this novel is sheer music. The Captain’s Daughter is much more than a beautiful love story. This is the expression of something that resonates in fado, the popular Portuguese folk song.
José Rodrigues dos Santos made an accurate research on his subject. His narration of historical facts is excellent, but, more than that, his writing style is prodigiously poetic and melodic, really enchanting the reader. His style was well reproduced in German by the talented translators Barbara Mesquita, Karin von Schweder-Schreiner and Marianne Gareis. The Captain’s Daughter is not a romantic novel for women. It’s actually much more than a novel – it’s a truly fascinating story about love and destiny, choice and free will in hard times. This is an unforgettable piece of work – of unique and advisable reading.”