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The Sign of Wrath

O Signo da Ira by Orlando da Costa presents a year (approximately 1940-1941) in the life of a rural society in Goa, then ruled by Portugal. There are two major social classes: the hereditary landowner, bab Ligôr and his tenants, low-caste field labourers.

During the previous few years, severe drought has endangered the principal crop of the region, rice. The Japanese occupation of much of eastern Asia has worsened the situation, since rice cannot be imported to supplement the meager harvests. The novel is structured around the villagers’ hopes for the secondary plant­ing season, the vangana. A good harvest will keep them from starvation. It will also determine the future of the young people, the aged, and the unborn….

Orlando António Fernandes da Costa (1929-2006) was an eminent novelist and poet, author of the prize-winning novels O signo da ira (1961) and O Último Olhar de Manú Miranda (2000), and of many other literary works. Of Goan descent, he was born in Lourenço Marques, Mozambique, a Portuguese colony at the time. He spent his youth in Margao, Goa, where his ancestral home stands along Rua Abade Faria.

This novel, originally in Portuguese, was published by Circulo de Leitores (Lisbon) in 1961.

Price in Goa: Rs 400 (hb). Elsewhere, p&p extra.