Anthony De Sa
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Anthony De Sa makes his fiction debut with this stunning collection of interlinked stories that explore the innocent dreams and bitter disappointments of the immigrant experience. Hailed as “tender and raw, morbid and surprisingly gentle” by the Vancouver Sun, Barnacle Love was a finalist for Canada’s highly prestigious Giller Prize.
Moving from a small Portuguese fishing village in the Azores to the shores of Newfoundland, Barnacle Love then takes us into the dark alleys of Toronto’s Portuguese community in the 1970s. The first half of the book is told by Manuel Rebelo, who has fled his homeland—and the crushing weight of his mother’s expectations—to build a future for himself in a new land. Manuel struggles hard to adjust, but fulfilling the promise of his adopted home is not as simple as he had hoped. The second half of the book is told with candor by Manuel’s son Antonio, who—along with his sister and mother—lives in the shadows cast by Manuel’s failures.
With fantastic, sometimes magical details and passionate empathy, Anthony De Sa invites readers into the lives of the Rebelo family. The results are, in the words of writer Nino Ricci, “haunting and elegiac.”
himself, bends his knee slightly to genuflect, but then turns to walk down the aisle. “Bless you, my son.” His cassock flicks Manuel’s shin as the black shape whirs by him. “Padre Carlos!” He turns. He is small. Not how Manuel remembers him. “What is it, filho?” “I’m not your son.” Padre Carlos tilts his head in distant recognition; he’s trying to place the young man before him. “I’m Manuel…Manuel Rebelo of Lomba da Maia.” His eyes widen. “You used to say, ‘Those who serve me…serve God.’”
“She’s my daughter, she needed a haircut.” Terezinha sat up front with the taxi driver. She wasn’t afraid of anyone or anything. Every once in a while Georgina would reach over the seat to tug at Terezinha’s ear when she was asking the driver too many questions. Georgina wasn’t the one his mother would have chosen for her son. Before the wedding, blood had been shed and hateful words exchanged, words that even Manuel had never dared to ask about. Manuel knew when it was best to stand back and
a cliff into the sea. His trance was broken by Terezinha. She tucked Thumbelina into an armpit, grabbed his hand, and tugged him toward the people waiting at the front door. Georgina shook her head the way she always did when Terezinha’s boldness took hold of everyone. Surprised at himself, Manuel allowed the tears to roll down his cheeks. A cluster of familiar faces had gathered near the front door. Manuel noticed that they too were dressed in their Sunday finery; the men wore shoes and shirts
air to breathe too,” Antonio said with conviction. BARNACLE LOVE MANUEL USED HIS FOREARMS to part the stalks of corn. His blood coursed through him. He forged ahead, swiping at the brittle stems, nursing the anger that had pressed on him ever since he had arrived back home and Silvia had said no. Two weeks ago, with an eagerness that overcame jet lag and saw him abandon his luggage on the front stoop of his crumbling childhood home, he had dashed through the fields to meet with her. She
lay back and tucked my hands behind my head. The pole that held the sagging line of white sheets and underwear creaked with every puff of wind. I wanted to escape—saw how easy it would be to throw myself onto the pole and slide down, my inner thighs burning on the hot metal, crash into the cool patch of kale in the garden. I could run to the garage, feel for the latch on the door and roll it up, flood it with light and air and dust. I could jump on my bike, ride up the alley, and venture farther