Herein lies a tale of an unexpected friendship and a book. Books make great friends, we all know. And authors also make great friends. Meeting an author isn’t always that easy. Who would have guessed I’m meet a young Brazilian man who writes? We spent months chatting on Facebook before he told me much about his story. I said he was interested and asked if I could read the first 25 or 50 pages of his novel. What’s wrong with this scenario?
Bruno Santos is Brazilian. Brazil’s national language is Portuguese. I’m an American. My national language is English. My request meant that Bruno had to provide a rough translation. Weeks later, I had his pages.
Looking through the language gaps, I saw an intriguing coming-of-age story about a young man named Philip. In EVENINGS IN PASAGARDA, Bruno writes of a late teen who grows intellectually and emotionally. We meet him when he’s lost. He’s not in school. He has no direction in his life.
He dreams of having friends, of having girlfriends, and of being able to connect with a girl on more than a superficial level. Add to this dream is the collapse of his parents’ marriage. His father leaves for a younger woman; his mother tries to control Philip and keep him tied to her. Part of Philip’s maturing means he has to resolve his feelings for his mother.
The two core story arcs are Philip’s relationship with his mother and his search for friendship. How these two are resolved make for a late-night read.
I wished for more magical realism and more exploiting of the Pasagarda in the title. We see hints of fancy and glimpses of what the place name means, but neither are fully resolved.
The ending feels rushed, and it leaves a couple of serious story threads unresolved. I assume they will be resolved in book #2, because the end of EVENINGS sets up the next in the series, NIGHTS IN PASAGARDA. I hope the second book resolves the conflicts I noted and sets up a third.
Philip grows in spite of the trials he must overcome. I want follow him as he matures.
Over all: 4 stars.