Saudade

By (author): Anik See

Beside me, on the stone steps of this quiet courtyard, there is a lame man – the sweeper. He is so thin that the end of his belt comes back around to its buckle. He’s trying to feed a puppy the rest of his lunch. He reminds me that we all need something to need us, and that maybe that’s why we Westerners, who are so independent, mostly fail to understand family in this way, and need to come up with things like ‘quality time’ to justify such a base need. Everyone here asks if my family is in Sri Lanka, if that’s why I’ve come here. When I say no, they’re back in Canada, this confuses them. It’s a black mark against me. Why would I leave them? I am a selfish person. (I am.)

The Portuguese word saudade has no direct English translation. In its simplest sense, it describes a feeling of longing for something that is now gone, and may yet return, but in all likelihood can never be recaptured. In Saudade, traveller Anik See traces her attempts to reclaim this loss in a series of informal essays that take us from the salt plains of Wood Buffalo National Park and the mountains of British Columbia to the fishing ports of Sri Lanka and the rough roads of Tbilisi, Georgia.

Whether at a fishfry in the Northwest Territories, at the post-9/11 Canada-US border, on the ultimate road trip through Australia or at a summer carnival in Santiago de Cuba,See is on a continual quest for simplicity, interrogating the perceived distance between privilege and want. Quietly, insistently, these thoughtful essays ask what we might accomplish if we said no to entitlement; if, instead, we used our privilege to help us better understand human nature. Throughout this psychogeographic diary, crowded with rituals of faith, death and renewal, See asks, again and again, ‘How much will be enough?’

Praise for Saudade:

‘Anik See’s Saudade is often disturbingly brilliant. It reassures me that much of our experience of the world is still undescribed. Saudade is fresh and utterly original.’ – Jim Harrison

‘See’s meditations on loss, technology, design, and borders are like long-exposure photographs: richly textured, dreamy, observant of even the slightest movement.’

GLOSS Magazine

AUTHOR

Anik See

Anik See is the author of the food memoir A Fork in the Road (MacMillan, 2000). Her writing has appeared in Brick, Prairie Fire, the Fiddlehead, Geist, Grain, the National Post, Toronto Life and, as a contributing editor, in Outpost Magazine. She divides her time between Canada and Holland, where she works with books, old and new. Her new short story collection will be published by Freehand Books in 2009.


Awards

There are no awards found for this book.
Excerpts & Samples ×
There are no other resources for this book.

Reader Reviews

Details

Dimensions:

200 Pages
6.92in * 4.91in * 0.72in
0.53lb

Published:

October 05, 2008

Publisher:

Coach House Books

ISBN:

9781552452073

Book Subjects:

TRAVEL / Essays & Travelogues

Featured In:

All Books

Language:

eng

No author posts found.

Related Blog Posts

There are no posts with this book.

Other books by Anik See