Barnacle Love by Anthony De Sa
Published by Algonquin, an imprint of Workman
As a young man, Manuel feels the need to escape from what haunts him in Portugal: his overbearing mother, an abusive priest, and his dead father. While on a ship off the coast of Canada, Manuel goes overboard to avoid returning home and chooses instead to make his life in Canada. In the second half of the book, Manuel’s son Antonio takes over the narration, describing the difficulties of being a second generation immigrant when the first generation did not live up to its own dreams.
The Portuguese-Canadian immigrant community was not one I had ever considered before. I didn’t even realize there was a large Portuguese immigrant community in Canada. This actually helped me approach the idea of the immigrant experience from a fresh perspective, which made for a very interesting read. The beginning of “Barnacle Love” was somewhat challenging for me, De Sa’s writing style in the first half was somewhat distant and removed, making it difficult for me to connect to Manuel or the story in general. During the second half, however, the narration switched to first person from Antonio’s point of view, and I was able to become more invested in the story being told.
A fresh look at the North American immigrant experience, and one worth reading.
Thanks to Beth Fish Reads, who has helped me to become more aware of the imprints I love over the past year, beginning with her Amy Einhorn Perpetual Challenge. Follow her blog for regular spotlights of some of her favorite imprints.
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