Portuguese American Journal

Book: ‘Smiling in the Darkness’ by Adelaide Freitas – Editor’s Note

Many people of Portuguese descent take pride in claiming that the word “saudade” is untranslatable. In reality, we come close with a melding of bittersweet nostalgia, bone-­deep longing, and an endless yearning for what one can never have again—­or indeed may never have had. Adelaide Freitas dipped her pen in saudade to tell of family separation and bonds that never loosen.

In her authentic Azorean voice, she recounts the immigrant experience and centrifugal impulses that force people apart in spite of their desperation to cling to one another. In their sensitive rendering, the translators have captured the nuances of Freitas’s novel Smiling in the Darkness, with special care for those who have her native language in their heritage and heartfelt saudade for its loss.

“This novel brings us into the reality underlying the condition of the emigrant, something that I believe is somewhat neglect in this “country of foreigners” and its natural born citizens, the Americans.” – João de Melo (Forward)


About the Author

Adelaide Freitas (1949–2018) was a celebrated author of prose and poetry, and a tenured professor at the University of the Azores. In 2018, Freitas was honored by the Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region of the Azores with the Insígnia Autonómica de Reconhecimento (Commendation of Recognition).

About the Translator

Katherine F. Baker’s translations include I No Longer Like Chocolates by Álamo Oliveira, The Portuguese Presence in California and My Californian Friends by Eduardo Mayone Dias, and Poetry by Vasco Pereira da Costa. The novel was translated with Bobby J. Chamberlain, Reinaldo F. Silva, and Emanuel Melo. 


Book Details

  • Title: Smiling in the Darkness
  • Author: Adelaide Freitas
  • Translator: Katherine F. Baker
  • Publisher: Tagus Press | Bellis Azorica Series
  • Publishing Date: March 3, 2020
  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 232 pp

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