Trust the Bluer Skies
Meditations on Fatherhood
by paulo da costa
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Pub Date 02 Mar 2024 | Archive Date Not set
Award-winning author paulo da costa meditates on fatherhood, place, and memory during a trip to his childhood home in Vale de Cambra, Portugal.
During an extended stay in his childhood home in Portugal, author paulo da costa distills the wide-eyed innocence, joy, and curiosity of his four-year-old son as he meets his aging grandparents and explores an unfamiliar country and culture into a beautiful, tender, and poetic portrait of father-son relationships.
Evocative and heartwarming, Trust the Bluer Skies is a literary time capsule—a father’s vivid account of his son’s early years, a sensory-rich journey through rural Portugal, and a poignant exploration of masculinities that is positive, compassionate, and nurturing.
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Average rating from 2 members
Trust the Bluer Skies is part journal, part child's memory book, part poetry, and is an earnest log of intentional living. It is intimate, endearing, profound and in many places, absolutely arresting.
As one begins to read, it feels a little itchy, a little too personal. It is the record of a family who has traveled from their residence in Western Canada to the homeplace in one of their family tree roots (Matos is the family name in this line) - in Portugal. It is clear that this is, if not an annual event, regular enough to sustain relationships with family and community members throughout the decades of the author's life. On this particular trip paulo brings his wife, his 4-year old son Koah, and their newest edition, Amari, a baby sister.
The writing is delicious and wide-ranging, and is always, always written to the son who is most often in his company. paulo is showing Koah around where they meet family - grandfather (who is not long for the world - a mighty contrast to the bursting offspring paulo brings to visit) and grandmother, uncles, cousins, neighbors. They work on language acquisition, songs, poems, stories, and recipes are carefully shared and documented. There are activities alone together - paulo and Koah, and those with other group mixes, mother and sister, grandparents and others. They stroll and explore the cemetery to discuss life and death, travel to celebrate tasty treats (but the best are the homemade ones), beautiful views and walkways. Experiences while carnival-ing, shopping, harvesting, cooking are shared.
For a book about one trip over a season, the intentional documenting, with its lyrical movement enthralled me. I imagined Koah picking this up at 10 yrs old, or 17, or 27, or 67. . .what an absolute gift to him this will be, right down to what he was eating and drinking, and how he got chicken pox (as did Amari), but recovered. . all captured in these pages. A gift.
The author gently presents the problems of long extended family visits - they show the contrasts in family life. How one family becomes very different over time and the various members as they start and stretch their own families and lives outside the original (and who is to say which is the original?!) "footprint," developing and adopting parenting methods far afield from that first model. Even worship and faith traditions change, some chose other nations, cultures and languages. All of these are shown in this tender book - yet tolerating the differences and suffering them to exist happens precisely so they can be together again for this too short while.
It was the end that wrenched my heart with the truths paulo shares with his four-year old - who will not understand fully for many years - that each visit is a new one, building new experiences with the loved ones who've remained, missing the ones who have not. The visit next time will not be the same - because we (the visitors) are not the same. That's the truth for all of us (Koah, visitors and readers), and the beauty of this book. Here is one father spreading with words his love, honor and respect for this little boy he knows will outgrow him faster than he will be able to bear, as he did in his turn to those who had nurtured him. But he leaves for his children, and all of us, his passion and reverence for daily living, and the value of gathering - arriving - sharing time together - and departing: to do it all over again, and again. What we can take from these efforts are so well illustrated in Trust the Bluer Skies, I'm grateful to have read it.
All the stars. Every one.
*A sincere thank you to paulo da costa, University of Regina Press, and NetGalley for an ARC to read and independently review.* #TrusttheBluerSkies #NetGalley Pub Date: 02 Mar 2024
It was like reading a beautiful letter of a Dad written to his son. A personal diary you may say. Some of us parents can relate to this as well. I felt like I was in Portugal. Thank you Netgalley, this was such an amazing read.
A sweet and interesting letter format written like a journal for the author's 4 year old son. They are temporarily in Portugal, coming from Canada, and the child is being exposed to his dad's family and hometown. I can hear echos of what I left behind in the small town to move, and sadly cannot recover the family and old ties. This will be a wonderful read for his son someday. I enjoyed it, but also felt at times like I was reading something that was not intended for my eyes. Felt a bit like I was snooping. Might just be me. Did make me think though, which is always a good thing. Would recommend.