opened window on a colorful Azorean scene, showing ocean and islands in the distance

Smiling in the Darkness

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Many people of Portuguese descent take pride in claiming that the word “saudade” is untranslatable. In reality, we come close with a melding of bittersweet nostalgia, bone-­deep longing, and an endless yearning for what one can never have again—­or indeed may never have had. Adelaide Freitas dipped her pen in saudade to tell of family separation and bonds that never loosen. In her authentic Azorean voice, she recounts the immigrant experience and centrifugal impulses that force people apart in spite of their desperation to cling to one another. In their sensitive rendering, the translators have captured the nuances of Freitas’s novel Smiling in the Darkness, with special care for those who have her native language in their heritage and heartfelt saudade for its loss.

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