A charming adventure from a remotest area of Portugal
The story revolves around Prospero, the mayor of a small town in a remote area of Portugal where time has perhaps not moved as fast as in other areas of the country. In Tapoli, news still travels by word of mouth - and it travels fast, since everyone knows everyone else in the town’s latticework of narrow streets.
We first encounter Prospero at a local summer festival, where his attention is caught by a visiting Englishwoman who seems oddly familiar. As the couple embark on a curious friendship, and then an even more curious love affair, Prospero discovers the woman’s connections with his own past. As his personal life grows complicated, so does his role as the town’s mayor - especially when strangers arrive, rubbing up against the entrenched local community and against local traditions. Prospero’s own role as mayor comes under growing public scrutiny as he struggles with the conflicting advice of his head and his heart.
Carr's portrait of life in Tapoli is charming, capturing the personal and public tides of a parochial town with ease. Listeners are transported to the medieval streets and basking heat of this Portuguese summer, and Prospero works hard to guide the town to property and peace, which is not easy when traditional sentiments still prevail.
With all the leadership qualities of a local statesman, the mayor nonetheless has to solve problems in a town so remote and untouched that its news hub is the local bakery.
Written with much humour, It will surely delight any reader and is to be recommended .It also leaves you wanting more adventures from Tapoli and Prospero! My only problem with an audible book is that it takes about ten times as long to finish, as being read a story is a lovely way to drift off to sleep - however engrossing the story might be. I would urge the publishers to publish in print too, even if it is just a digital edition.
The Exhausting Summer of São Martino
by Simon Carr, with Steven Pacey (Narrator)
Available on Audible Audio