Agustina Bessa-Luís: A Sibila [The Sibyl]

The latest addition to my website is Agustina Bessa-Luís‘s A Sibila [The Sibyl]. The novel tells the story of Quina, a Portuguese woman in a male-dominated society. Her father spends his money on women and gets involved in a bitter dispute over water rights which he loses, dying soon after. The cost to the family means the loss a of a dowry for the daughters, which Quina does not regret though her sister does. Quina soon takes charge of he family farm , outmanoeuvring her lazy brothers. Though she is close to her niece and adopts an orphan boy, she never marries and does not have children of her own which she considers an ideal situation as she tells her niece. Indeed, virtually the only happy women in this book are the unmarried ones, while the men come out badly. It is a first-class feminist novel which has been translated into several languages but, sadly, not English.

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