Wether set on the East Coast of America or in the Azores, the stories are always exciting and compelling naratives that transcend their ethnic orientation; warm and humane, yet sparing us non of life's rough edges, they are uplifting even as they explore the dark side of human nature.
Sao Miguel is prominent in the stories that follow. It is the setting for the lives recounted, and the spatial environment wherefore citizens assess their dreamss and desires vis-a-vis other spaces. America, for most protagonists, is the space against which their lives are compared and contrasted. This practice fequently reveals broken dreams and despair. Whether it be the case of Maria and her unhappy marriage, or Celia's frustrations with the lack of opportunities in her hometown, a certain escapism and imagination is turn to for relief. In this repect, these stories connect emotionally with people beyond Portuguese descent. In some stories the economies of the island (fishing, farming) are described, in others the topography and climate of the land is discussed. With each description, the work succeeds in representing a well-focused picture of the island of Sao Miguel. In this landscape, lives are frequently characterized by choices made and which never quite seem to led to fulfilling lives.
"At the end of the field, a line of tall, thin trees filled the horizon. They stretched for miles in either direction. He jogged to the line of trees, then slipped through a blind opening and into a wide clearing. Sea winds swept across long tufts of grass. Maria was sitting on a wall overlooking the ocean with her legs dangling over the side, flirting with the laws of gravity. Her blouse billowed like a sail. Tanned skin glistened beneath the blouse where the wind picked it up. Her hair was a mass of brown waves whipped from one side to the other. He leaned over the wall and saw the ocean several hundred feet below. Waves slapped the rocks in a while bubbling spray. A thunderous roar rocked the wall each time a wave collapsed on the jagged shore. And on the horizon, the sky was a sheen of polished glass."- from ILLUSIONS OF SUMMER