Kastin, Darrell. The Undiscovered Island. New Bedford: Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 2009 (411 pages).
This family novel is set in the Azores, to where Julia Castro, a second generation Portuguese-American, goes in search of her immigrant father who has mysteriously disappeared after moving back to his ancestral home.
Alarmed by her father Sebastião’s unexplained disappearance, Julia Castro travels from California to the family’s ancestral home in the Azores and finds the mid-Atlantic islands abuzz with tales of ghost ships, seductive sirens and witchcraft. The mystery deepens when a drowned man’s body is discovered halfway up a mountainside and an unknown island emerges from the sea.
As she pursues the search for her father, Julia gradually succumbs to the bewitching allure of the Azores-and to Nicolau, a fellow musician-eventually discovering a place where dreams lie just beyond the horizon, shrouded in mist.
History, legend, poetry and myth are seamlessly interwoven as the novel explores relationships between personal and cultural identity, fate and self-determination, reality and illusion.
The Undiscovered Island is a lyrical evocation of a locale and a people, rendered with wonderful respect for Azorean tradition.
The Undiscovered Island is “a story of mystery and magic-magical appearances and mysterious disappearances, mysterious women and magical islands-beautifully and lyrically told.”
Karen Joy Fowler
author of The Jane Austen Book Club
“After Ulysses founded Lisbon as legend has it, he sailed off into forbidden waters and landed on the isle that held the fountain of Purgatory as Dante had it. Might this have been the Azores? The Undiscovered Island could confirm the fact, as all of Portuguese history, so legendary as it is, comes to a kind of culmination on these isles. Time is of no avail as its end and passage convene in this novel in what is a romp of detective story, epic, and family quest. What a great read!”
translator of One Hundred Years of Solitute
Portuguese in the Americas Series
The Undiscovered Island —sponsored in part by the Government of the Autonomous Region of the Azores– is the twelfth volume of the Portuguese in the Americas Series published by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture.
The Series documents the variety and complexity of the Portuguese-American experience by publishing books in the social sciences, history and literature.
Darrell Kastin was born in Los Angeles, California, and currently resides in Southern Oregon. His maternal ancestors came from the Azores, settling in the United States at the end of World War II. He has spent considerable time on the islands over the years, using them as a setting for many of his short stories. A short story collection, titled, The Conjuror & Other Tales of the Azorean Nights is scheduled to be published in 2010. His short fiction has appeared in The Seattle Review, The Crescent Review, The Blue Mesa Review and elsewhere. Darrell is currently setting the poetry of Luís de Camões, Fernando Pessoa, and Florbela Espanca to music.