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Alentejo Blue
Monica Ali
publisher: Querido, Amsterdam, 2006



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Alentejo Blue is the story of the picturesque 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 cafe owner who has never recovered from the death of his American wife, clings to a notion that his years in the States 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.

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BOOKS BY MONICA ALI:

Brick Lane
2003
Nazneen leaves her Bangladeshi village and is sent to London to marry an older man who lives in Brick Lane. There she observes her neighbors; raises a family; learns to love the kind, ineffectual man she married - and finds a new love that forces her to make choices for the first time.
Alentejo Blue
2006
Monica Ali's second book is a collection of stories set in the Alentejo province of Portugal, linked by characters and by a vivid sense of place and time.
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The Ledge
editor-in-chief: Stacey Knecht, info@the-ledge.com
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