New and selected fiction, over half in English for the first time, from the winner of the 2014 Neustadt Prize.
Known internationally for his novels, Neustadt Prize-winner Mia Couto first became famous for his short stories. Sea Loves Me includes sixty-four of his best, thirty-six of which appear in English for the first time. Covering the entire arc of Couto’s career, this collection displays the Mozambican author’s inventiveness, sensitivity, and social range with greater richness than any previous collection—from early stories that reflect the harshness of life under Portuguese colonialism; to magical tales of rural Africa; to contemporary fables of the fluidity of race and gender, environmental disaster, and the clash between the countryside and the city. The title novella, long acclaimed as one of Couto’s best works but never before available in English, caps this collection with the lyrical story of a search for a lost father that leads unexpectedly to love.
PRAISE FOR SEA LOVES ME
“A worthy … introduction to a unique and atmospheric African writer’s work.” — Kirkus
“Couto employs his haunting lyricism … to examine the burdens of race, history, and culture in the aftermath of Mozambique’s 1974 independence from Portugal … Mia Couto’s multivalent vision also manifests in the seamless merging of author and translators, original and translated texts … Like Mia Couto’s aesthetic effort to render whole the many facets of his contradictory identity, the translators’ linguistic dance simultaneously pays homage to his original fiction, and gives birth to its autonomous and indelible existence in English.”—Asymptote
“The stories offer a kaleidoscopic vision of Couto’s world, deeply rooted in Mozambique but imbued with an ethereal, otherworldly quality. Often in just a few pages, Couto is able to breathe life into a variety of characters … Sea Loves Me is a thrilling addition to Couto’s extraordinary body of work, bringing together new and old stories that evoke past and present Mozambique, memories and dreamscapes, natural and spirit worlds. War, race, sky and sea, death and desire—these are just a few of the eternal elements Couto uses to mold his wise, enchanting fiction.”—World Literature Today
“Mozambican writer Couto (Woman of the Ashes) draws on African proverbs for a captivating collection of 64 brief, aphoristic stories, set mostly in Mozambique … There are captivating stories of people at the margins … Many entries elude easy interpretation, making them all the more haunting. Each story contains enchanting insights into human nature.”—Publishers Weekly
“Stunning … Packed with an incredible 64 stories, Sea Loves Me features 36 of Couto’s pieces translated to English for the first time ever, including the titular novella. With a voice that immediately grabs you, it’s a great entry for readers new to Couto and a treat for those already acquainted with his sharp, wise, playful, and absorbing writing.”—Open Book
“Extraordinary … Begin anywhere, with any story, and you as reader are safe within Couto’s world. The imagination is without limit, the poetic force is exhilarating and often disturbing, while the surprise of some is breathtaking … Couto is as much a master of the pointed anecdote as the longer tale.”—Winnipeg Free Press
“What makes his stories so special is the way in which he manages to describe even the most violent events as if they were coated in honey. There are no sharp edges in Couto’s writing, no matter how much desperation and darkness the scenario he describes contains. Everything seems taken out of a dream, and reading his books is like being constantly, softly lulled into the story … This collection offers a perfect glimpse into Couto’s writing, and it’s a great pathway into his novels.”—Book Riot
PRAISE FOR MIA COUTO
“Mia Couto’s stories of civilization and barbarity are told through a language that is precise and profound; he weaves together the living tradition of legend, poetry and song.”—International Man Booker shortlist jury citation
“These literary fragments are dreamy but hopeful responses to Mozambique’s violent past, magical tales that find solace in the wisdom of rivers and trees, fishermen and fortune tellers, children and blind men … Couto’s stories are rooted yet timeless, both whimsical and deeply spiritual.”—Vanity Fair
“[Couto is] a brilliant aphorist. There are countless sentences that … have the weight and wisdom of ancient proverbs.”—Wall Street Journal
“Couto’s narrative tone, at once deadpan and beguiling, and his virtuoso management of time place him alongside the best Latin American magic realists.”—Times Literary Supplement
“One of the greatest living writers in the Portuguese language … [Couto] cracks open a welcoming window onto a vast world of literary pleasures.”—The Millions