In his novel, Rainy Season, Agualusa returns to the present again. What at first seems like the fictive biography of the Angolan poetess and historian Lidia do Carmo Ferreira, gradually turns out to be a depiction of the devastating history of a country tormented by thirty years of war.
A journalist – the autobiographical features are quite deliberate – is trying to find out what happened to Lidia, who disappeared in Luanda in 1992, a point in time when the civil war flared up again with unprecedented ferocity after rebel leader Jonas Savimbi and his UNITA movement refused to accept defeat in the country’s first free and democratic elections. The story, a tangled mesh of facts and fiction, tells of the disappointment of the two protagonists, which represents the disappointment of a whole nation.
'Imagine Boris Pasternak's Dr Zhivago transplanted to tropical Africa, chopped up into glittering, bloodstained fragments and set to dance to a delirious rumba. Then you might begin to take the measure of this novel of a revolution that devours its children' Boyd Tonkin, Independent
'Violence and literature comes together, and stays together, in a manner familiar to readers of Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. Though of course not the same, the two authors share, in this novel at least, a certain sense that the personality of a nation comes from its most terrible acts and its greatest literary achievements' Damian Kelleher
‘It's not just Arcadia, and I, who have a good opinion of this book: it won the Independent's foreign fiction award for this year, against the usual stiff competition' Nicholas Lezard's paperback choice, Guardian on The Book of Chameleons