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The Madwoman of Serrano

The Madwoman of Serrano

by Dina Salustio
Publication Date: 09/09/2020
RRP  $29.25 $28.95

The first novel by a female author to be published in Cape Verde, and the first to be translated into English, The Madwoman of Serrano is a magical tale of rural ideals and urban ambition, underpinned by an exploration of female empowerment.

Serrano is an isolated village where a madwoman roams. But is she really mad or is she marginalised because she is wise and a woman? Could her babbling be prophecy? One day a girl falls from the sky and is found in the forest by Jeronimo. The villagers are suspicious of the newcomer, but Jeronimo falls in love with her.

When she gives birth and disappears, Jeronimo takes care of the child, naming her Filipa. Years later, estranged from Jeronimo after being taken from the village in mysterious circumstances, Filipa is a successful businesswoman in the city. Her memories of growing up in Serrano and her friendship with the madwoman become increasingly vivid.

When the madwoman's warnings come true and Serrano's sheltered existence is threatened by plans to build a dam, Jeronimo heads for the city himself. Will he and Filipa finally be reunited?

Contemporary fiction
Publication Date:
Dedalus Ltd
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Dimensions (mm):
Dina Salustio

Dina Salustio was born on the island of Santo Antão, Cape Verde, in 1941. She has worked as a teacher, a social assistant and a journalist, in Portugal, Angola and Cape Verde. As a writer, her first book, Mornas eram as noites (Warm were the Nights), a collection of short stories, was published in 1994, and subsequently translated into Spanish. She has had two novels published, A Louca de Serrano (The Madwoman of Serrano) in 1998 and Filhas do Vento (Daughters of the Wind) in 2009. A new short story collection, Filhos de Deus (God's Children), was published in 2018. Her essay Violência contra as mulheres (Violence Against Women) was published in book form in 1999 and she has contributed to numerous short story and poetry anthologies. She is a founding member of the Cape Verdean Writers Association and has been awarded the PEN Galicia prize for lifetime achievement.

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