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The Land of Chocolate
The book is divided into three main parts.

In the first part, entitled "Shipwreck", the narrative is built around the memories of a young child left behind by her parents and brought up by the grandmother. The lack of both a mother and father figure leaves the child struggling to develop as she is unable to comprehend why she was left behind. The life and feelings of this child are probably similar to what has been experienced by the majority of children from the Portuguese rural areas whose parents emigrated to Europe.

The second part, entitled “Journey(s)”, brings together the successes and misfortunes of many protagonists of the diaspora. The accounts of the smuggler, the children and young people stripped from the land of origin and forced to be integrated into a new and unwelcome environment, the men and women with their many skills and established lives that needed to learn a new language and adapt to a new culture are voiced. It also portrays the struggle of present-day immigrants who are faced with the decision of returning to Portugal or staying in their adopted country, as well as the identity conflict experienced by second, third and even fourth generations of Portuguese immigrants.

In the final part of the book, the child has become an adult and follows the footsteps of the first Portuguese immigrants, her own parents, relatives and friends. With hindsight, the narrator revisits this diasporic space with the purpose of showing the reader this intimate reality that is often concealed for a vast majority of people.

Although The Land of Chocolate captures the engrained memories of Portuguese immigrants in France, the theme of emigration/immigration is timeless and these accounts might well describe the lives, thoughts and feelings faced by illegal immigrants around the world at the beginning of the new century.


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