June Publications

Known as a meticulous and forthright, if somewhat peculiar, businessman in life, Sr. Da Silva emerges as a bona fide eccentric in death after the exhausting reading of his 387-page, memoirlike will. The Last Will and Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújo by Germano Almeida reveals the ostensibly chaste old man's secret tryst with a housekeeper—and the identity of the couple's unsuspecting progeny—before his stunned nephew and heir-apparent and the entire Cape Verdean community. Almeida's refreshing voice and playful irony ring clearly in this translation from the Portuguese by Sheila Glaser. (New Directions, $14.95 paper 176p ISBN 0-8112-1565-2)

In The Forgotten Island, Sasha Troyan's lush, languid second novel (after Angels in the Morning), a child bears witness to her parents' domestic strife and her sister's disappearance in a Mediterranean paradise. On Bella Terra, home to gorgeous summer villas and luxuriant overflowing gardens, 11-year-old Helen and her beautiful, selfish and destructive older sister, Lea, antagonize a neighboring painter and alternately flirt with and defy their troubled parents and their parents' odd friends, the Ashtons. Troyan weaves loving, sensual descriptions of place and characters with cryptic exchanges and a muted sense of foreboding as the novel moves toward its inevitable and haunting conclusion. (Bloomsbury/Tin House, $23.95 192p ISBN 0-58234-464-7)