Author(s): Monica Ali
Alentejo Blue is the story of the Portuguese village of Mamarrosa told through the lives of those who live there and those who are passing through - children and old men, expatriates of all ages, tourists and locals.
For some, such as Teresa, a beautiful, dreamy village girl, it is a place from which to escape; for others - the dysfunctional Potts family - it is a way of running from trouble (but not eluding it). Vasco, a cafÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ owner who has never recovered from the death of his American wife, clings to a notion that his years in America make him superior to the other villagers. One English tourist makes Mamarrosa the subject of her fantasy of a new life, while for her compatriots, a young engaged couple, Mamarrosa is where their dreams finally fall apart.
At the book's opening an old man reflects on his long and troubled life in this beautiful and seemingly tranquil setting, and anticipates the return of Marco Afonso Rodrigues, the prodigal son of the village and a symbol of this now fast-changing world. This homecoming continues as a subject of much speculation, and when Marco Afonso Rodrigues does finally appear, villagers, tourists and expatriates are brought together and jealousies, passions and disappointments collide. First published 2006.
An evocative tale of belonging and exile by one of Britain's best young novelists.
Monica Ali was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and grew up in England. She is one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists of the decade, Newcomer of the Year at the 2004 British Book Awards and has been nominated for most of the major literary prizes in Britain. Brick Lane was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, the George Orwell Prize for political writing and the prestigious Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Internationally there has been similar recognition including, in the United States, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times 'First Fiction' Prize where the book was shortlisted. Monica Ali lives in London with her husband and two children, and is working on her next novel.