The Madwoman of Serrano
by Dina Salústio
The first novel by a female author to be published in Cape Verde, and the first to be translated into English, The Madwoman of Serrano is a magical tale of rural ideals and urban ambition, underpinned by an exploration of female empowerment. Serrano is an isolated village where a madwoman roams. But is she really mad or is she marginalised because she is wise and a woman? Could her babbling be prophecy? One day a girl falls from the sky and is found in the forest by Jeronimo. The villagers are suspicious of the newcomer, but Jeronimo falls in love with her. When she gives birth and disappears, Jeronimo takes care of the child, naming her Filipa. Years later, estranged from Jeronimo after being taken from the village in mysterious circumstances, Filipa is a successful businesswoman in the city. Her memories of growing up in Serrano and her friendship with the madwoman become increasingly vivid. When the madwoman's warnings come true and Serrano's sheltered existence is threatened by plans to build a dam, Jeronimo heads for the city himself. Will he and Filipa finally be reunited?