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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
by L. N. Lavolle
Age Range: 12+
Twelve-year-old Nuno lives in the fishing village of Nazaré-on-the-shore in Portugal. Nuno’s family are very poor as are the rest of the families in the village with their main source of work, income and food coming from the sea. When Nuno's fisherman father drowns at sea his family is left with an uncertain future. Nuno's mother finds him a job with a relative as a draper's assistant in a shop in Nazaré-on-the-Hill. However, Nuno longs to be back by the sea and to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Jorge, a local man who is now blind owns Ousôos, a boat he can no longer use and left abandoned by the shore. Nuno asks Jorge if he can borrow the Ousôos so that he can show everyone, that despite his young age, he can go out to sea to fish.
French author L. N. Lavolle wrote Nuno or (Captain Nuno in other editions) in 1959 and it is very much of its time containing some anachronistic accounts in the descriptions of people, situations and a social life that are not representative of today. Nevertheless, it provides an insight into the life of a society no longer in existence, (although Nazaré is a real fishing village 80 miles north of Lisbon), with its tighter sense of community and comradeship and Nuno’s exceptional courage in the face of great adversity.
Nuno was the winner of the Prix Enfance du Monde in France the year it was first published in 1959.
Hélenč Chaulet, who wrote under the pseudonym L.N. Lavolle, was born in 1914. She is an archaeologist and prolific children's novelist.