Literary Category: contemporary fiction
Published at: Portugal (Dom Quixote), Brazil (Alfaguara)
Synopsis: Prizewinning Portuguese novelist Inês Pedrosa's splendid new novel is charged with drama, poetry, and humor. Rosa Cabral, its vibrant protagonist, is a striking young fado singer and composer. The daughter of a television show host and an unknown father whom she is attempting to find, Rosa is also passionately involved with Gabriel, a bookseller who uses books as a barrier against the storm of life. Rosa’s restlessness finds echoes in the fate of her friend Farimah, an Iranian engineer who accepts a marriage of convenience with an HIV-positive Portuguese man in order to avoid the forced marriage her father is attempting to impose on her. Mandela, a Portuguese African, and Luisa, the illegitimate daughter of an aristocrat, are other key characters in this vivid tale of uprooted people who find themselves in a world where frontiers seldom turn out to be as fluid as they seem.
These lives are soon drawn into the larger dramas of the early 21st century -- the ongoing consequences of earlier catastrophes such as AIDS, the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers in New York, and the growth of Islamic fundamentalism -- all of which have drastically altered the choices, the dreams, and the very fabric of their lives.
Moving from Lisbon to London, New York, São Paulo, and Rio, Within You, the Sea draws on the emotional power at the heart of the fado, a music deeply attuned to the shadings of love and loss. In her life as well as her art, Rosa ultimately is able to shake off a fatalistic resignation, thereby transmuting her melancholy into a haunting new force of erotic and personal emancipation.