“Thus, day by day, Graca acquired a posthumous knowledge of her father that moved her deeply and it was with sorrow that she found she had devoured the entire contents of the leather briefcase.”
A wealthy businessman dies leaving his business, a few houses and a reputation of being a rather aloof and eccentric character. But as he almost 200 page will is read a different picture emerges of a man unable to find the courage to marry, someone who struggles with rumors of his past and a man who lived for years with the secret of a daughter he never publicly acknowledged.
The winner is the daughter Graca who discovers the story of her father and then gets the chance to discover him through his documents. But the loser is the nephew Carlos who assumed he would inherit to find he has been left the hassle of the funeral and spent years working for a man who seems to have found it difficult to trust him and leaves him a crumbling old house.
As the story of the life of Sr. da Silva Araujo starts to fall into place it is a rather tragic tale of a person confined by his own thoughts rather than the substantive actions of others. It is often what he thinks people might say or do that moulds his actions not what they really get up to.
His inability to form relationships leaves him with a daughter that thought on the few occasions she met him that he was a dirty old man and a couple of women who came close to being his wife but never got asked. It also seems to leave him with very few friends as he has a problem trusting people and puts a value on everything.
You carry on reading about this character because of the way that his double life, if that’s not too strong a description, opens up revealing a man who has a tragic existence behind his wealth. If there is one thing that you take away from this book it is perhaps the idea that life should be enjoyed at the time and of course the old adage money cannot buy you happiness.
There is also a note of warning that in a tight-knit community even the deepest secrets are common knowledge.
One way of telling a story is to have someone else do it for you. The idea of a long lost document, a letter or manuscript found and now retold via the author.
In this case it’s a last will and testament that is used as the story of a successful but slightly eccentric businessman is told in a long and winding document. There are surprises in the will, including the disclosure of an illegitimate daughter and an insight into his views on wealth and spending.
But as the story, a memoir more than a will, starts to unfold there are signs that the life led by Senhor da Silva Araujo is one that no one really understood and there should be some more surprises to come.
A review follows on completion…