When a young woman is subjected to a violent attack, the impact of colonialism, patriarchy, and who we choose to love are thrown into sharp relief. Daria is an immigrant woman living in Toronto, and as she begins to tell her story, the reader is pulled into different worlds, travelling to various timeframes and locations in an unending awe-inspiring Matryoshka play, where one story leads to another and another and another. The novel explores the stories of multiple characters?the Indo-Portuguese-Canadian sexual predator; the idealist and resilient Mozambican freedom fighter; the wondrous Iberian Roma circus; the Christianized Muslims and Jews; the mystical Nubian master who knows how to capture black matter; the fascist dictator whose ruthless cousin delivers unthinkable punishments inside the closed walls of Tarrafal, the infamous Cape Verdean prison of the Portuguese colonial regime?and countless other personalities, some wretched, some redeemable, some otherworldly, who defend visions and ideals and fight for dignity, power, and recognition.
Moving back and forth between Canada, Portugal, Mozambique, and Cape Verde, Daria is a magical realism historical novel where fact and fiction intermingle to create a spellbinding world of complex political, familial, and cultural dynamics.
"Irene Marques is a brilliant novelist and storyteller. She is endowed with the gift of creating characters and narrating their stories over time and space. Daria is a cerebral novel about Portuguese identity, family, immigration, displacement, and remembering. Personal and poetic, Irene Marques' aching narrative is a masterpiece of contemporary Portuguese-Canadian fiction, a meditation on human experience in Portugal, Canada, and the former Portuguese colonial empire. It is a necessary book for anyone interested in women's struggles within and outside of patriarchy, dictatorship, colonialism, anticolonialism, immigration, neoliberalism, and globalization. Daria is a novel that conveys the dreams and the wisdom of those who left home and country."
?Isabel A. Ferreira Gould, independent scholar
"Brilliant and captivating, the novel Daria provides a look into the struggles and triumphs of being in a new land. Irene Marques' writing moves extraordinarily between countries and she masterfully creates scenes of beauty and horror, happiness and sadness and, above all, hope and resilience. Books like this offer the world and invite us to experience other lives. This moving tale of dreams and healing will leave you yearning for the journey to continue long after the last word."
?Sonia Saikaley, author of The Allspice Bath
In Daria, Irene Marques paints a sprawling canvas of interconnected narratives whose settings range from present-day Canada to a village in Portugal's Beira Alta region to colonial-era Mozambique and the Portuguese prison camp in Tarrafal, Cabo Verde. By turns transcendently lyrical and unsparingly brutal, the novel spins together stories within stories, intricately woven dreams, and fantastic visions as it follows its protagonist on her immigrant journey."
? Anna M. Klobucka , Professor of Portuguese and Women's and Gender Studies, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth