Why Join?

  • Add New Books

  • Write a Review

  • Backpack Reading Lists

  • Monthly Newsletter

Join Now

The Return of the Caravels

The Return of the Caravels

Author(s): Antonio Lobo Antunes

Location(s): Lisbon

Genre(s): Fiction

Era(s): 1974

Location

Content

The Return of the Caravels is a powerful indictment of Portuguese colonialism and another literary tour de force from the pen of Antonio Lobo Antunes, “the greatest living Portuguese writer” (Vogue). It is set in Lisbon as Portugal’s African colonies gain their independence in the mid-1970s. In a contemporary response to Camoes’s conquest epic The Lusiads, Antunes imagines Vasco da Gama and other heroes of Portuguese explorations beached amid the detritus of the empire’s collapse. Or is it the modern colonials — with their mixed-race heritage and uneasy place in the “fatherland” — who have somehow ended up in sixteenth-century Lisbon? As da Gama begins winning back ownership of Lisbon piece by piece in crooked card games, four hundred years of Portuguese history mingle — the caravels dock next to Iraqi oil tankers, and the slave trade rubs shoulders with the duty-free shops. The Return of the Caravels is a startling and uncompromising look at one of Europe’s great colonial powers, and how the era of conquest reshaped not just Portugal but the world.

Review this Book

To review this book, please

Log in

Book Reviews

Lead Review

The Caravels were the vessels during the Age of Discovery. They anchor amongst the big tankers of modern day with sailors from that age considering the dissolution of Empire. It is nominally set in 1974,...

Read review

Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021