Portugal in the 1970s
O ur story begins in 1975. Only the previous year, a revolution had ended 48 years of corporatist dictatorship. The revolution brought massive change to the country and the African territories under colonial rule, which then became countries in their own right. One such country was Mozambique, where our protagonist lived. With civil war and political turmoil encroaching on their quiet life, she and her family, among one million of “the returned” — the contemptuous epithet bestowed on them by European-born countrymen — had to leave their home behind and seek refuge in Portugal.
Teresa and her family came to Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, finding a nation in upheaval. With democracy taking baby steps, freedom was on everybody’s lips, but the stringent and hypocritical morals of the dictatorship still had a powerful hold on people’s hearts and minds. The young faced sexual repression from their parents and elders, running into taboos right, left and center. Parents didn’t trust their children, nor did children trust their parents, so lying was the only way to survive. “Surviving” meant living through perfectly normal experiences for teenagers: going to parties, slow dancing with a crush, your first kiss or your first lovemaking experience. In a highly authoritarian and paternalistic society, losing your virginity as a girl demanded a good deal of forethought. Abortion was criminalized and you could go to jail for terminating an unwanted pregnancy. Ignorant of most modern contraceptive methods and afraid to ask, young women in 1970s Portugal approached sex and relationships with a blend of curiosity, wonder and terror.
This is the world where Teresa will search for love and a path of her own, forced to keep secrets and opposing the rules of her elders with youthful tricks and stratagems.
The Team Behind the Book
Teresa Vale was born in Mozambique in the early sixties, moving to Portugal in 1975, after the African country had gained independence. She pursued an executive career in the financial sector and lives in Lisbon with her family. She runs the blog, The Many Stories of a Woman, and this is her first book.
Jorge M Machado is a translator who’s already achieved one of his lifelong dreams — subtitling Monty Python’s Flying Circus. He has devoted years of study to formal literary analysis. Editing this book has presented him with new challenges and contributed in no small part to the refinement of his analytical skills.
Leonor Sousa Oliveira is a graduate of the Visual Arts Program (Painting) from the Fine Arts School (Faculdade de Belas Artes) of the University of Oporto. She loves to paint but has also taken up 3D modeling and animation and is currently pursuing a certificate in that field. Leonor has participated in collective exhibits, such as Sandbox, at the Faculdade de Belas Artes, and Da Sombra (“Of the Shadow”) at the Fórum de Ermesinde, Portugal.
Francisco Figueira is a full-time UX designer and an aspiring entrepreneur. He earned his web media degree in London and has kept working toward mastery in his field. Over the past 5 years, he’s crafted and delivered valuable digital experiences to global organizations and startup companies.