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'Alentejo Blue' by Monica Ali

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It's been a summer of endless sunny days.* An excerpt:

In another setting, with another attitude, she could be attractive: fey and other-worldly rather than blown about.

Lightness and shifting focus:

The mind is a marvellous thing; no end to it at all.

Seemingly the perspective varies as characters enter the arena – from chapter 9:

At seven fifteen on the twelfth day of October a ferret, looking sensibly left and right, crossed the tracks. A minute later the wind woke a bunch of leaves and dust and chivvied them across the platform and beneath a bench where they settled down again. At seven seventeen a voice clanged down a distant metal nose and through the tannoy to announce that the arrival of the seven twenty-one was delayed by six minutes exactly. The message was delivered in a peremptory manner as though nobody, in any case, would hear.
When the train pulled in two people got off, a man and a woman from separate carriages. The woman wheeled her case straight off the platform, through the hall and into the car park but the man set down his bag.
He looked up at the dreaming edifice, the powdery sheen of the stones, and down at the new-laid double-gauge tracks that the train was leaving behind. For a few moments he held still, as though there was something he was trying to hear or smell or recall.
The man was neither young nor old. His head, which was shaved, was dependable and smooth except for the two creases where it joined the back of his neck. His eyes were dark and wide-set, sloping gently back and up. He wore black jeans, scuffed black shoes, a blue shirt, and a black cape, fastened with a gold chain and clasp.
He hoisted his bag and in long, even strides dispensed with the station, emerging just as the woman drove away. The car disappeared round a bend and the man stared down the empty road.

Yes, it is kinda blue...

Recognizing the feeling of living in the outskirt of Europe:

You had a good journey? From Portimão, you said? Well, it's fast now, isn't it? Too fast. Wham, bam, you're here. Right in the middle of nowhere. All that EU money, they spent it all right. New tracks, new trains. You can really get nowhere fast.

Threading the thin air:

Conscience is but a word cowards use to keep the strong in awe.
Someone said that.
Someone or other.
Someone with a brain.
If you looked at a bald head long enough you wanted to touch it. That was a fact of life. If you needed some added charisma, which Marco obviously did, you could do worse than shave your pate.
'I feel like I'm finally beginning to understand,' the fiancée was burbling, 'the need in life to make space for things that, you know, might come from...'
She was cute, actually. He wouldn't mind. Any port in a storm. But she was dreaming and she thought she was just waking up.
'The search itself,' Marco was saying, 'is what prevents us from finding our true being.'
One thing he was glad about now, he'd left his illusions behind. Disillusioned, was it called? Oh, well, it fitted nicely on the page and that was all that mattered to him. He looked at the girl and at Vasco and the tableau vivant of the Pottses. Dreaming, they were all dreaming. Marco was dreaming too.
Marco said, 'In order to attain Awareness the mind simply has to make way.'
Stanton knew what Marco was. Some old hippie, fresh from an ashram where they chanted and indulged in free love. He got up to leave and, steadying himself with a hand on the table, whispered in Sophie's ear. 'Don't listen to him, for God's sake. If you end up like him you won't have a single thought to call your own.'

Life is tranquil during winter – Finally, a point:

Everything keeps changing but still it remains the same.

A key (to the vast emptiness?):

'Fooey,' said Telma Ervanaria. 'You went here, you went there, you did this, you did that. Simply give us the facts.'
'I could tell you some stories. Stories are what we use to cover things up.'
'Nonsense,' said Telma Ervanaria, her pug face becoming squarer by the second as she adjusted her chin. 'Only if you tell lies.'
João came out of the toilet and limped past, smiling left and right, to acknowledge whatever was going on.

Vacant, pretty vacant...

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