Portuguese / Portugal

Uma escuridão bonita. Estórias sem luz elétrica
(A beautiful darkness. Stories without electric light)

Ondjaki (text)
Gonçalves, António Jorge (illus.)
Alfragide: Caminho, 2013. – 105 p. + [7] p.
ISBN 978-972-21-2648-9(Brazilian edition: Rio de Janeiro: Pallas, 2013)

Darkness | Storytelling | Love

The text and drawings found in this book appear white on matte black pages – an appropriate choice given the book’s title. ≫Uma escuridao bonita≪ (A beautiful darkness) describes a night in the Angolan capital of Luanda in the 1980s. The electricity has gone out; two teenagers are talking on a veranda, hushed and shy. He wants to kiss her, but hours drift by before that happens. Murmured thoughts fill the night air with beauty and poetry. This is the perfect setting to pause and dream, leaving space for the imagination and for that left unsaid.

The story is beautifully written and also leaves room for reading between the lines. Author Ondjaki was born 1977 in Luanda and writes both for adults and teens. ≫Uma escuridao bonita≪ won best Portuguese-language young adult book of 2013 in Brazil by the FNLIJ. Its delicate, sketchy illustrations received the Premio Nacional de Ilustracao (National Illustration Prize) in Portugal in 2013. (Age: 14+)