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Foreword Magazine Review


Trust the Bluer Skies : Meditations on Fatherhood

paulo da costa, University of Regina Press

Softcover $24.95 (256pp) 978-0-88977-995-2

paulo da costa’s heartbreaking memoir Trust the

Bluer Skies is a bittersweet ode to memories of

lost times and places.

The book explores da costa’s relationship with

his four-year-old son, Koah, during a months-

long, pivotal trip from Canada to da costa’s birth-

place in rural Portugal, undertaken in an effort to

expose Koah to his heritage and extended family

life. The book is intentional in considering how

traditions are passed from one generation to

another, as from a loving father to his son.

In Portugal, da costa himself was eager to

find the home he remembered before it crum-

bled under the demands of economic progress

and cultural change. Images of aging family

members leading simple lives and celebrating

age-old holidays are used to show what could be

lost. And da costa’s depictions of the lush land-

scape and its people are haunting and beautiful,

featuring “pigeon-filled skies” and century-old

irrigation ditches moved to make way for tract

homes and modernization. His poignant ram-

bles with his son—treated like a family archaeo-

logical expedition—are covered too.

The extended holiday informs the text’s tight

organization: it begins with da costa’s family’s

arrival and ends with them packing their lug-

gage to return home. The brief trip results in a

further sense of loss, emphasizing the shortness

of childhood and its special pleasures. Indeed,

the family discovers that home is not as timeless

as da costa remembered. And just as the past has

the power to transform the present: because of

their presence, changes are made to the wider

family’s saga.

Reaching backward can be both grounding

and transformative according to Trust the Bluer

Skies, a haunting memoir about the perils and

promise of returning home and the joy of leaving

it forever changed.


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