Bald Island, Falkland Islands, in Autran Dourado’s “Bald Island”

Photo Credit: Don Aldmor Rison. This photo is under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

“Doroteia did not say anything, she limited herself to looking disdainfully at the fish that gave her father so much pleasure. At that moment neither the fish nor her father interested her: she wanted peace, she wanted to be alone….Alone, she thought, looking at Bald Island lost in the grays of the sea.”1

Lost in the memories of her past relationship, Doroteia’s vacation house acts as a place of reflection and heartache instead of rejuvenation and relaxation. Floating just off the coast of Weddell Island, Bald Island as a metaphor embodies the melancholic isolation Doroteia suffers in her sexual exclusion: while she frequents local watering holes she merely sits and observes couples, judging them, missing the soft eyes of her Marcia, a bisexual girl and former lover. Rather than risk being unveiled as interested in both sexes, Marcia chose to pursue male suitors and left Doroteia behind. In the absence of Marcia, Doroteia laments her gender identity as a lesbian and her inability to exhibit emotional strength, which she categorizes as an unwelcome byproduct of her sex.

Although little happens in the tangible world, the Autran Dourado reservedly describes the beautiful surroundings of the retreat. It’s as if the reader, while aware of the peaceful and dreamlike imagery, must look at the contemporary world through black and white photographs. Contrarily, vibrant images and energy of the past remain vivid yet undeniably lost to time. We see the world as Doroteia sees it, and we feel the isolation as she feels it looking out over that lonely island lost in the grays of the sea.

Autran Dourado, a Brazilian novelist, received both the Camões Prize and the Goethe Prize for his literary accomplishments. “Bald Island” is taken from Solidão, Solitude (1972) and gained recognition partly for its exploration of gender. Unfortunately, many of his short stories have yet to be found.

Read about Autran Dourado‘s Solidão, Solitude and his other stories Amazon.

1 Dourado, Autran. “Bald Island.” Solidão Solitude. Rio De Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1972.

N. pag. Print.

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