The Bull is not Killed
(Stoddart, 224 pages, $26.95 cloth) by Sarah Dearing is set in Portugal. It is 1974, political tensions are escalating, and many-including twenty-five-year-old Luis da Silva-hope the repressive dictatorship will be overthrown. Luis, who has a history degree but is unemployed, longs for adventure. So does Luisa Barbosa, a young gypsy girl eager to experience life outside her clan. The two meet, and their love story is played out against the political backdrop.
Dearing conveys both the sensuality of the landscape and the clash between Portugese and gypsy cultures convincingly. In the end, however, The Bull is not Killed is a small novel with big ambiguities, and too many observations of this sort: "No country can possibly grow great on the backs of tourists, it is too colonial, with the control of direction clearly in outside hands."