Filho da mãe
Hugo Gonçalves

NOVEL | 2019 | 200 pages

As his 40th birthday approaches, Hugo Gonçalves receives his grandfather's will in a plastic bag. That day he embarks on a trip, both geographical and through memory, that he has postponed for decades. The first and main destination: the afternoon he received the news of his mother's death on March 13th 1985, when on his way home from elementary school.

For over a year, the author sought people and places, in order to recover what time and distance made him forget including what he didn’t even know about his mother. From the Algarve vacation of his childhood to the unruly years in New York, at every turn he searches for the splinters of mourning: cassettes with her voice, hospital hallways, the Catholic school, a scar on his leg, the escape from romantic love, the spiral of sex and drugs, or a road trip with his father and brother, thirty years after his mother's death.

This is a beautifully written personal investigation on the effects of loss on identity and character. It is a biographical account of illness, origins, family and growing pains once we get past the arc of existence in which we cease to fantasize exclusively with the future and we have to face the past.

In an attempt to reconnect with the mother he was never able to say goodbye to, and not knowing what he would find on the trip, Gonçalves learns at least one thing: anyone who wants to write about death, ends up writing about life.

 

RIGHTS: portuguese (portugal) COMPANHIA DAS LETRAS | portuguese (brazil) COMPANHIA DAS LETRAS

Of such honesty and courage that we never feel like a voyeur. It’s called intimacy and may very well be the last value remaining in this world.
— Joel Neto