Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Booking A Trip to Goa 2 - Tivolem

Part 2 of the originally single essay published in the December issue of See Goa


Tivolem is the name of another mythical Goan location, this time a village, and the name of Victor Rangel- Ribeiro’s novel capturing the workings of Goan village life. Set in the 1930s, the story revolves around the eventual romance between bachelor Simon Fernandes, a violinist and a retired civil servant from Kuala Lumpur, and 35- year-old Marie Santana, who returns from Mozambique to take care of her grandmother after her parents’ death.

The book is a nostalgic tract written by a Goan settled in New York and clearly yearning for an era that has passed and will never return. Yet, the book does not bore, like so many other books that attempt to capture this essence of Goan Catholic village life. Although it is unfairly skewed towards the characters that are rooted in the feudal order of the Goan Catholic world, that cannot be helped as the author himself belongs to that order and it is this order that has for better or worse captured the ‘right’ to define Catholic Goanness.

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