Smiling in the Darkness: Adelaide Freitas in English

Smiling in the Darkness by (Adelaide Freitas 1949- 2018, Sorriso por dentro da Noite), published by Tagus UMASS Press, is a beautifully-written, lyrical story of an Azorean family’s journey of immigration to North America.

Through Xana, the 12-year-old girl protagonist in the story, Adelaide Freitas gives us a heartbreaking account of what it means for a child to experience the fracture of family ties. One of the strongest themes in the novel is the idea that you can’t ever really go back and recapture the past and that the present is not always a better place.  The damage has been done.

I relate to Xana because when I was her age, I also experienced being taken from one culture to another, losing beloved family members through immigration, and the ultimate realization that something deep within the soul gets damaged or changed forever.  At the end of the novel, Xana tries desperately to hold on to her world just as it is about to change forever.  It’s a profound moment in the novel that resonates deeply with my own leaving the old world for the new.

There is much more that I could say about this novel but the story is one that should be discovered by reading it.

You can also read Katharine F. Baker’s translation notes here.

I owe a great deal of gratitude to Katharine F. Baker for inviting me to contribute to her translation of this important book of diasporic relevance. I am also grateful to Tagus Press for selecting one of my photographs for the book cover.

Freitas, Adelaide Batista. Smiling in the Darkness. Novel trans. Katharine F. Baker, Bobby J. Chamberlain, PhD., Reinaldo F. Silva, PhD., and Emanuel Melo. N. Dartmouth, MA.: Tagus Press, Mar 2020.

Also available through Amazon

About thetorzorean

The musings of a torontonian azorean on identity and belonging. You can find me at
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7 Responses to Smiling in the Darkness: Adelaide Freitas in English

  1. Kathie B says:

    To everyone who reads this post, please know that Emanuel contributed immensely to the final manuscript of “Smiling in the Darkness,” for which I’m immeasurably grateful.

    This led to our collaboration on the English translation of Natália Correia’s 1950 travelog, “In America, I Discovered I Was European,” scheduled for publication (also by Tagus) this fall.

    Maybe we’ll collaborate again someday, amigo!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Manuela Marujo says:

    Loved the book, it is moving and voices the experiences of family set apart by immigration. One will never forget Xana, the young girl who has the sensitivity to witness and record her own and other relevant caracteres’ feelings.
    So happy that Adelaide Freitas’ book was translated, thanks Emanuel and Kathie Baker for all the work, not easy!
    Your capture of the “Ilhéu” is magnificent. There is a beauty there that brings tears of joy to my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Carol Wells-Gordon says:

    Congratulations Emanuel upon this recognition of your amazing insights in translating this work. I will look forward to reading the book so as to better understand the sorrows and longings of those who leave home, bound for a new land.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. dulcedelgado says:

    Fica o registo do livro e a vontade de o adquirir. E parabéns pela participação!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ilda says:

    Well done, Emanuel and Katharine! And well said, Emanuel, “the ultimate realization that something deep within the soul gets damaged or changed forever” with immigration. I would love to see the photo used for the book cover.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Book Launch: Smiling in the Darkness by Adelaide Freitas | Emanuel Melo torontonian azorean writer

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