Portuguese Rotary sends more than 700 books to Cape Verde jails

And when (already) there is no father to give a gift to? 8 books about loss

O Father’s Day is, for many, an open wound. In mid-February, society awakens to the arrival of this date, celebrated in Portugal on March 19, launching ads, articles and suggestions on what to offer fathers in an almost ritualistic way.

If many do not even think about the subject, rejecting its capitalist genesis, which moves away from the association with Jesus Christ and Joseph, others embark on the search for the perfect gift, which conveys the affection they feel for their father. There is still a large part of the population that, whether due to loss or absence, is relegated to the margins, watching in hushed tones, and avoiding crossing their eyes with posters and promotions alluding to that day.

It was with this last layer in mind that the News by the Minute set out to compile a set of books, both fiction and non-fiction, that could provide some comfort to anyone who is faced with the pain, loss and absence of a father, in a society that avoids the feelings associated with mourning and emptiness, preferring to believe in the illusion that everything will be fine, regardless of the circumstances. However, in life, not all endings are happy.

Check out the list curated by Notícias ao Minuto below:

Notes on Mourning, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie© DR

On June 10, 2020, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s life changed dramatically. Her father, academic James Nwoye Adichie, died suddenly in Nigeria. In ‘Notes on Mourning’, the author pays tribute to her father’s life, while at the same time addressing one of the human experiences that will touch everyone: mourning. Raw and true, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie shares the devastating effects of her father’s death, while giving a glimpse into her life story.

News by the Minute You Are Not Alone, Cariad Lloyd © DR

If you like to read in English, this is the book for you. In ‘You Are Not Alone’, Cariad Lloyd shares what she has learned from her podcast, Griefcast, reflecting not only on her own grief, but also on the psychology and science behind the way Western society views death. In fact, the author lost her father at the age of 15, at a time when death was (even more) taboo. It was only years later that she sought to understand the wound surrounding her grief, creating a ‘guide’ for all those who, like her, feel alone, or who intend to help those dealing with the pain of losing someone dear to them. To all, her message is simple: you are not alone.

News by the Minute It’s Okay Not To Be Okay. Coping with Grief and Loss in a Culture that Avoids Grief, Megan Devine© DR

In a society that tries to ignore pain and treats grief as an illness that has to be cured as quickly as possible, ‘It’s Okay Not to Be Okay’ shows that there is nothing wrong with feeling bad when a painful loss or a serious event shakes our lives. In fact, it’s more than normal. After witnessing her partner’s accidental drowning, therapist Megan Devine encourages us to view grief as a natural response to death and loss, rather than an abnormal condition that needs to be addressed. Thus, the author addresses the pain that bereaved people carry when they are judged, dismissed or misunderstood, and challenges the idea that one should return as quickly as possible to a ‘normal’ and ‘happy’ life, proposing an intermediate path , which invites you to walk side by side with pain.

News by the Minute This Time Tomorrow, Emma Straub© DR

Falling asleep at the door of her childhood home, the night before her fortieth birthday, Alice couldn’t have guessed that she would wake up in 1996, aged 16. Her father, who is sick in a hospital bed, appears, to her surprise, much younger. Has she traveled back in time to right some wrong? Or to reconnect with her father, whose voice she feared she would never hear again? How did her life go by without her noticing? Faced with various perspectives of what could have been her reality, Alice gives new meaning to her life, trying to understand the consequences of her decisions, at the same time as she tries to save her father.

News by the Minute Karenina Principle, Afonso Cruz© DR

“A father who erects walls of silence, a mother who reveals the seams of the world, an extremely old maid, a friend who wants to be a fighting champion, a lover who carries forbidden flavors and perfumes.” It is in this way that the ‘Karenina Principle’ is described, in what is the search for the most unconditional love of a father for a daughter. This plot by Afonso Cruz goes to the ends of the world, to Vietnam and Cambodia, and to the territory that was formerly known as Cochinchina, in search of happiness.

News by the MinuteThe Book of Form and Emptiness, Ruth Ozeki
© DR

A year after his father’s death, 13-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. Initially, these voices pertain to things he has at home, such as clothes, Christmas decorations, and food. Benny can not only feel his tone, but also the emotions, realizing that some are happy, and others are filled with pain. Between widowhood, financial difficulties, and a tendency to buy and keep things you don’t need, Benny’s mother ends up intensifying the voices that disturb her son, increasingly loud and intrusive. In fact, the voices begin to follow him out of the house, leading him to the refuge of the public library, where objects are more polite and respect silence. Benny also discovers his own Book, which teaches him to listen to what really matters and to find his own voice in the inevitable hardship of the path.

News by the Minute The Missing Things, Rita da Nova© DR

“This idea that there was some kind of invisible thread connecting daughters to their fathers made sense. There was something that impelled me to look for my father, to grab that thread and pull it, until I managed to bring him closer to me.” ‘The Missing Things’ tells the story of Ana Luís, who grows up feeling that she is missing something and that she doesn’t belong anywhere. Living with her mother, a cold and domineering woman, imprisons her in a lonely place, with her father, whom she doesn’t know, who places all her hopes. In her eyes, he’s the missing piece of the puzzle, and when she meets him, her life will finally make sense. In this debut novel, the author explores the complexity of human identity, the importance of the family circle and the stories that are sometimes repeated from generation to generation.

News by the Minute Conversations about Love. Dating – Dating – Family – Friends – Endings – Beginnings, Natasha Lunn© DR

After years of feeling that love was something she couldn’t achieve, journalist Natasha Lunn set out to understand how relationships work and how they evolve throughout life, with the help of authors and experts, to answer to the questions: “How do we find love?”, “How do we sustain it?” and “How do we survive when we lose it?”. ‘Conversations about Love’ thus addresses vulnerability, the loneliness of loss, fatherhood, unrealistic expectations, among many other themes, creating a ‘Bible’ about love.

Also Read: “Grief, not being a disease, is a public health problem”

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