Heloneida Studart: Selo das despedidas (later: Sem dizer adeus) [Seal of Farewell]

The latest addition to my website is Heloneida Studart‘s Selo das despedidas (later: Sem dizer adeus) [Seal of Farewell]. This is a grim feminist novel, which starts with the suicide of a woman, Maria das Graças Nogueira de Alencar, from a distinguished family. She leaves her eight notebooks to her niece, Mariana and we follow the content of the notebooks during the course of the book, as well as following the stories of Mariana, Leonor, her younger sister, and Mimi, their mother and sister of Maria das Graças. The three women have all had miserable marriages, boring in the case of Mariana, who is a lawyer but much worse for the other two. We also learn that Mariana and Maria das Graças were both, in family tradition, intended to remain old maids so that they could look after their mother in her old age. Both rebelled. All the women in the book have a miserable time, from being sent to a convent or even thrown out on the street for those who had dared to have pre-marital sex to controlling and often brutal marriages or, in the case of Maria das Graças, being denied any love. Studart does not mince her words, though she herself was married with six sons and and an adopted daughter, saying, for example there is no hate that can compare to that between a husband and his wife.

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