The Wind Whistling in the Cranes
With the grand sweep of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels, this enduring tale transports us to a picturesque seaside town haunted by its colonial past.
Considered one of Europe's most influential contemporary writers, Portuguese novelist Lidia Jorge has captivated international audiences for decades. With the publication of The Wind Whistling in the Cranes, English-speaking readers can now experience the thrum of her signature poetic style and her delicately braided multi-character plotlines and witness the heroic journey of one of the most maddening, and endearing, characters in literary fiction.
Exquisitely translated by Margaret Jull Costa and Annie McDermott, this breathtaking saga, set in the now-distant 1990s, tells the story of the landlords and tenants of a derelict canning factory in southern Portugal. The wealthy, always-scheming Leandros have owned the building since before the Carnation Revolution. It was Leandro matriarch, Dona Regina, who handed the keys to the Matas, the bustling family from Cape Verde who saw past the dusty machinery and converted the space into a warm-and welcoming-home.
When Dona Regina is found dead outside the factory on a holiday weekend, her body covered in black ants, her granddaughter, Milene, investigates. Aware that her aunts and uncles, who are on holiday, will berate her inability to articulate what has just happened, she approaches the factory riddled with anxiety. Hours later, the Matas return home to find this strange girl hiding behind their clotheslines and with caution, they take her in.
Days later, the Leandros realise that Milene has become hopelessly entangled with their tenants, and their fear of political and financial ruin sets off a series of events that threatens to uproot the lives of everyone involved. Narrated with passionate, incandescent prose, The Wind Whistling in the Cranes establishes Lidia Jorge as a novelist of extraordinary international resonance.
Format/pages: hardback / 528 pages
Publisher: WW Norton & Co