Upon his death, the famous Angolan composer Faustino Manso left seven widows and eighteen children. His youngest daughter, Laurentina, a filmmaker, tries to reconstruct the late musician’s turbulent life.
In My Father’s Wives, reality and fiction run side by side, the former feeding into the latter. However, in the territories José Eduardo Agualusa crosses, fiction plays a part in reality too. The four characters in the novel which the author is writing as he travels accompany him from Luanda, the Angolan capital to Benguela and Namibe. They cross the Namibian sands and their ghost towns, reaching Cape Town. They carry on to Maputo, then Quelimane beside the Bon Sinais River, and thence to the island of Mozambique. They cross landscapes that border dreams, landscapes from which – here and there – the strangest characters emerge. My Father’s Wives is a novel about women, music and magic. These pages herald the rebirth of Africa, a continent afflicted by terrible problems but blessed with a talent for music, by the ever-renewed strength of its women and the secret power of ancient gods.