In 1978, I moved to Portugal to work as a teacher of English for a private language school in a coastal town south of Lisbon called Setúbal. It wasn’t an easy time for me. I was 24, single, unqualified apart from a degree in English that nobody seemed to think much of. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, nor where I might want to do it, and finding myself in the aftermath of an apparently peaceful revolution in a country of which I knew almost nothing turned out to compound my sense of general misplacement. With not very much to lose, it was a time for trying things out.
The Slave House is a novella that draws on some of my experiences during the five or six months I stayed there. It does not, I hasten to say, stick slavishly to the truth. In fact, most of it is made up, as we adults like to say. Still, I think you’ll like it. It’s a Kindle Single and currently priced at £1.49, which might have seemed a lot in Portugal in 1978, but will barely buy you a bica these days. And I promise you that The Slave House is also dark and strong as any espresso, Italian, Portuguese or otherwise, and should last a good while longer.