Equator Hardcover – 7 Jul 2008
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`Equator is filled with pleasurable digressions and set pieces ... impressive and gratifying' -- Toby Lichtig, Times Literary Supplement
About the Author
Miguel Sousa Tavares was born in Oporto. He gave up a career in law to pursue journalism, after which he moved to more literary writing. He is the author of several books of non-fiction. Equator is his first novel, the product of a long period of maturation and historical research inspired by a complex chapter in Portuguese history.
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Top Customer Reviews
Luís Bernardo Valença arrives on São Tomé and Príncipe to discover that the cocoa plantation owners have shipped people from Angola and employed them on a fixed term contract, meaning that they are not free to leave at the present time. This means that it is almost impossible to decide whether slavery exists or not.
Equator is a beautifully written piece of historical fiction, which brings up a complex discussion as to what constitutes slavery. I loved the brief glimpse of Portuguese court, and learning about it's colonies. This book has inspired me to read more about the history of Portugal, as I know very little about it.
I got slightly bored in the middle of the book when the British Consul arrived, and the book went into a bit too much political discussion for my taste, but the plot picked up again towards the end.
Overall, I found it to be a very interesting look at a period of history that I knew nothing about. Recommended to anyone who loves historical fiction.
Well-written narrative, opening in 1905, when Luis Bernardo is asked to go leave his luxurious life to sort out problems in this godforsaken spot - the plantation owners here determinedly run their businesses using slaves from nearby Angola. Meanwhile the British, led by William Cadbury, are threatening to boycott their chocolate if things don't change fast. Luis Bernardo has the impossible task of persuading the islanders to sacrifice their plentiful labor force for more humane conditions. And meanwhile the new British consul, and his wife, have arrived to make their own report on conditions...
The one failing of this novel is the romance and the graphic sex scenes which are extremely poorly written, and seem out of place with the writing style elsewhere. It's like slipping into Mills and Boone every so often!
I'd probably give it 3.5
But I 'had' to read Equator and am so glad I did - it became one of my all time favourite books.
Don't get me wrong - it's not that I am not interested in history - but I do find the phrase 'historical novel' generally means either a turgid tome that would challenge the most intellectual and patient reader or a flibberty gibberty romance of the costume drama series type...neither of which are quite me.
So if you've rejected Equator for any of these reasons please give it a go.
It is full of good characters who stay with you, funny & sad (ie lifelike, albeit in a different era), very interesting - both historically and geographically - well written (and translated) and most importantly for me, DIFFERENT. (Aren't you just fed up with the 'best-selling' books that are just rewrites by some famous name of the 10 he has already written?)
I do live in Portugal and that was one of the reasons it was on our book club list, but that made no difference at all to the enjoyment of the book. Yes I can pronounce São Tomé e Principe with a proper Portuguese accent, but all you need to get you into the book is to want to know..'where?'.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A really powerful and passionate story, beautifully written against a backdrop of real history. You won't be able to put it down!!Published 11 months ago by Geoff Phoenix
As I've lately become fascinated with colonial Portugal in general and the island of Sao Tomé and Principe during that time period in particular, this book gives a fabulous... Read morePublished on 6 July 2013 by schreiberling51
a good christmas present, very nice price and she loved it! one two three four five six seven eight ninePublished on 2 Jan. 2013 by Nuno Marques
This book is incredible, very well written and catchy until the last sentence. It also marks an important part of the history of Portugal and its ex-colonies. You will love it!Published on 19 April 2012 by Maria Monteiro
Awesome, just brilliant...one of the best I ever read. I was hocked since the first page till the end. Read morePublished on 9 July 2010 by Karma