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A Stranger at My Table By Ivo de Figueiredo

A Stranger at My Table by Ivo de Figueiredo

Condition - Very Good
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A biracial son of a subcontinental, migrant family searches for his estranged father's story and ultimately rewrites his own.

A Stranger at My Table Summary

A Stranger at My Table: The postcolonial story of a family caught in the half-life of empires by Ivo de Figueiredo

"A touching, contemplative chronicle of loss and self-discovery."
- Publishers Weekly

From the acclaimed biographer of Norway's most treasured cultural icons, Henrik Ibsen and Edvard Munch, comes a story of a migrant family in search of roots and for each other.

Ivo de Figueiredo's lyrical and imagistic memoir navigates a difficult search for the origins of his estranged father, which opens a door to a family history spanning four continents, five centuries and the rise and fall of two empires. At the age of 45, Figueiredo traces his father's family in the diaspora. Having emigrated from the Portuguese colony of Goa on the west coast of India to British East Africa, and later to the West, his father's ancestors were Indians with European ways and values-trusted servants of the imperial powers. But in postcolonial times they became homeless, redundant, caught between the age of empires and the age of nations.

With lush descriptions and forthcoming honesty, A Stranger at My Table tells the story of a family unwittingly tied to two European empires, who paid the price for their downfall, weathering revolution and many forms of prejudice. The author's trove of often-strange photographs, letters and recordings as well as his eye for the smallest details and double-meanings lead the reader down a mysterious path as his search for his family's heritage results in a surprising reunification with his father and reconciliation with his past.

Praise for Henrik Ibsen. The Man and the Mask, 2019

Ivo de Figueiredo's work marks the high point in the long line of biographies of Ibsen that have been published since 1888.
- Dagbladet

This Ibsen-biography shares the quality of its subject: It is unsurpassable. [...] Anybody with the slightest interest in literature should indulge in a meeting with the most important Norwegian contribution to world literature: The works of Henrik Ibsen. Outside of the plays themselves, there is no better place to start than Ivo de Figueiredo's two books, "The Man" (2006) and "The Mask" (2007).
- Klassekampen

A jubilant outcry ... it is this literary composition that makes Ivo de Figueiredo revise our understanding of Ibsen.
- Dag Solstad

Praise for Sleeping Sinner, The Kober Case. A true story of spiritualism, love and a possible murder, 2010

The book is so well written that I almost forgot that it was a book. It resembles a film or a court case. Figueiredo's trick is to focus on the unsolved parts of the case [...] Figueiredo deserves gratitude and admiration.
- Aftenposten

Wonderfully fascinating reading. Exciting like a crime novel, but from real life.
- Varden

Electrifyingly well written. The historian and writer, Ivo de Figueiredo, stylistically just gets better and better [...] It is like a thriller you cannot put down.
- VG+

A Stranger at My Table Reviews

Figueiredo uses techniques that are reminiscent of W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz. [...] In passages he dazzles his reader with a mixture of recollections, colonial history, literary references, passing portraits and scenic descriptions. He also includes Norwegian history, social mobility and immigration through the striking contrast between the exotic son-in-law and the mother's family of modest religious folk.
- Dagbladet
It's impossible to do justice to the complexity of Figueiredo's writing in a review. His lyrical prose is exquisite. [...] What commitment can we Goans make to his story? Can we claim Figueiredo for ourselves? He has no inkling of what it means to be Goan. His only, fleeting, acquaintance with the community has been the Norwegian Goan Association in Oslo, where desultory meetings conducted by disinterested parties held little appeal for him. [...] Maybe we are all just individuals with disparate stories, capable of dissolving and reconstituting, leaving homelands and finding new ones, setting sail from safe harbours and embracing unknown futures. And yet, are we really anything other than the sum total of our shared historical past? Can we ever deny that collective euphoria which transcends distance and binds us together? Figueiredo's story is ours.
- Selma Carvalho, O Heraldo and Joao-Roque
Figueiredo is an impressively sophisticated writer [... and a] crucial part of Norway's stellar contemporary cohort of verfabula specialists, pushing narrative non-fiction into the high art category classically reserved for novels and poetry. Notable contemporaries include Karl Ove Knausgaard, whose six-volume autobiography plumbs the extreme limits of verisimilitude, and Asne Seierstad, author of The Bookseller Of Kabul, a global best-seller. [...] Figueiredo's book is [...] lifted by immensely moving feats of empathy in reaching across time and half the world to plunge towards his father's long-abandoned Afrikander universe of meaning.
- Vivek Menezes, "The in-between world of the African Goans," Mint
Ivo de Figueiredo adds his own comment to the burning debate about so-called [Norwegian] reality literature. [...] The result is an engaging and very well-written book [...] A Stranger at My Table is a story that spans continents, multiple identities and different classes at one and the same time [...] in the depiction of the fate of the Figueiredo family, where family became their true homeland as the empires and social systems to which they once belonged disappeared between their fingers. Thus, through one man's fate, the author succeeds in asking important questions about identity, origin and the price of migration.
- Sindre Hovden, VG+
In his search for identity and background, the author elegantly depicts the story of his family as an integrated part of colonial world history. [...] The journey into his father's life [explores] different aspects of colonial rule, as well as the various nuances of racial division. This makes this story more than a family saga, with relevance to today's political climate: "Man does not fear the unknown as many think, they fear what they think they know."
- Adressa
Figueiredo writes brilliantly and insightfully about personal things, not least his difficult relationship with his father, without becoming private, and uses a historian's ability to see similarities and parallels.
Best Books of 2016
- Dagbladet
With A Stranger at my Table, Ivo de Figueiredo expands our understanding of what prose can be. [...] It is touching and highly personal. [...] He combines first-person narrative with personal inquiry and a scholarly account of history. This makes the book unique.
- Klassekampen

About Ivo de Figueiredo

Ivo de Figueiredo (b. 1966) is the critically-acclaimed biographer of Norway's treasured cultural icon, Henrik Ibsen (forthcoming in English with Yale University Press, 2019), and his next book is the official biography of Edvard Munch, commissioned by the Munch Foundation. In 2002, he was awarded the Brage Prize for a biography of Johan Bernhard Hjort, the co-founder of the Norwegian Fascist Party who later became a resistance fighter and human rights lawyer. A Stranger at My Table received one of the highest non-fiction honors in Norway, the 2016 Language Prize and was nominated for the Brage Prize that same year. Figueiredo works as a critic at Morgenbladet and Aftenposten and is a member of the Norwegian Academy.

Table of Contents

East Africa
Norway - Spain
Works Cited

Additional information

A Stranger at My Table: The postcolonial story of a family caught in the half-life of empires by Ivo de Figueiredo
Used - Very Good
DoppelHouse Press
Winner of Sprakprisen (Language Prize) 2016 (Norway) Winner of Brage Prize 2002 (Norway) Nominated for Brage Prize 2016 (Norway)
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us

Customer Reviews - A Stranger at My Table