Nominated by:

Biblioteca Municipal de Oeiras, Portugal

Biblioteca Pública Municipal do Porto, Portugal

Publisher of nominated edition:

Biblioasis, Canada

The Tuner of Silences

Mia Couto      

Translated from the Portuguese by David Brookshaw

2015 Longlist

Mwanito Vitalício was eleven when he saw a woman for the first time, and the sight so surprised him he burst into tears.

Mwanito’s been living in a big-game park for eight years. The only people he knows are his father, his brother, an uncle, and a servant. He’s been told that the rest of the world is dead, that all roads are sad, that they wait for an apology from God. In the place his father calls Jezoosalem, Mwanito has been told that crying and praying are the same thing. Both, it seems, are forbidden.

The eighth novel by The New York Times-acclaimed Mia Couto, The Tuner of Silences is the story of Mwanito’s struggle to reconstruct a family history that his father is unable to discuss. With the young woman’s arrival in Jezoosalem, however, the silence of the past quickly breaks down, and both his father’s story and the world are heard once more.

The Tuner of Silences was heralded as one of the most important books to be published in France in 2011 and remains a shocking portrait of the intergenerational legacies of war.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Mia Couto was born in Beira, Mozambique in 1955. He dropped out of medical school to join the struggle against Portuguese colonialism in his country. When Mozambique became independent, in 1975, Couto was named Director of Information in the revolutionary government. Couto is the author of more than 25 books of fiction, essays and poems. His novels and short story collections have been published in 20 languages. Two of his novels have been made into feature films and his books have been bestsellers in Africa, Europe and South America. Mia Couto lives with his family in Mozambique, where he works as an environmental consultant and a theatre director.

About the Translator

David Brookshaw has translated six books by Mia Couto. He is Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Fellow in Lusophone literatures at the University of Bristol. His recent books include translations of Portuguese-language fiction from the Azores Islands, Macau and China, and the critical study, Perceptions of China in Modern Portuguese Literature.

Librarian’s Comments

By meshing the richness of African beliefs into the western framework of the novel, Mia Couto creates a mysterious and surreal epic (novel) and characters.

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