I enjoyed "There is a Tide" very much indeed. The story takes place in the small fishing village of Santola on the Algarve coastline of Portugal in the early 70's at the beginning of the boom in the tourist industry. Am Afifi explores the lives of some of the more colourful characters of the village and how they are affected by the development of the scores of apartment complexes, villas and golf course that now cover the landscape.
The conflict is between the traditionalists of the village, who want to hold onto their old way of life of fishing, farming, festas, and drinking a local brew called madronha and the modernists, who quickly realise that there is easy money to be made out of buying up land cheaply and selling it to developers.
However, "There is a Tide" is more than just this, there are stories within stories, excitment, passion, betrayal and family secrets to unravel and most importantly for me there's my favourite character, Salavador Rodrigues, the old fisherman, who tells such beautiful tales of wonder and wisdom. Through him we get an insight into the history of Portugal, its people, its culture and its way of life - a Portugal that you can still find today tucked away among the tourist developments or just a little inland away from the coast.
"There is a Tide" is an intelligent book, which makes us think about what we are doing and where we are going. I would especially recommend it to those who live here like myself or have visited Portugal in the past. It is also a great book for anyone thinking of coming to Portugal in the near future for a holiday or as a place to live.