Alfonso I Dhanya Gopal I Review

November 26, 2014


A semi-autobiographical novel by Felix Calvino, is the story of an immigrant who is trying to find his way in a new country. Alfonso is a Spanish immigrant who finds himself attached to his home country’s culture and art. He moves to Australia in search of a job. He manages to grow in this job and buys himself a livable but by no measure a luxury house. The routine gets to his nerves. Alfonso dreams of settling down with a girl and having a family. However, he lets a rare encounter with a beautiful and smart girl go by in fear of marriage and the complications it comes with. He regrets this decision too late in his life. Alfonso goes through bouts of depression, loneliness and monotonous living. As an immigrant who is often surrounded by men and women of his country, he often finds it hard to integrate in the new country. However, he consciously tries to assimilate. Alfonso clearly sees that no matter what he tries, he will still feel distant from the new country.

“It was clear to him that the pain of nostalgia paralyses him, and if left unguarded, might ruin this new life of his that provided all he needed and more than he had ever expected.“

I identified with the protagonist in more ways than one. Although one is in a new country, the heart and soul goes back to home country every single minute, like Felix Calvino puts it, “Ahead, the empty hours between mealtimes and bedtime. Ahead, old dreams, old omens and regrets dying within the coils of his memory.” The memories of home are inextricable from one’s life. It’s almost as valiant an effort as separating a fish from water.
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