Charles Reis Felix


Tony: A New England Boyhood
Published by The Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 2008.




Da Gama, Cary Grant, and the Election of 1934
Published by The Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 2005.




Through a Portagee Gate
Published by The Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 2004.




Crossing the Sauer
Published by Burford Books, Short Hills, New Jersey, 2002.




Vasco da Gama, Cary Grant e as Eleições de 1934
Edited by Rui Zink and translated by Emília Madureira. Published by EDEL Editora, 2011.






CLICK ON BOOK TITLES TO READ EXCERPTS


Tony: A New England Boyhood

In the autobiographical novel, The Story of a Bad Boy, Thomas Bailey Aldrich recounts his adventures when he was a boy growing up in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in the 1840s. And now along comes Charles Reis Felix with Tony: A New England Boyhood, his autobiographical novel about growing up in Gaw (New Bedford), Massachusetts, in the 1930s, almost a century later. But there are sharp differences between the two novels. Instead of a Yankee in a small town, we have a Portuguese boy, Tony Alfama, in an industrial city. Felix presents a rounded-out picture of Tony. You see Tony at home with his mother. You see him with the gang on the street. You see him at school. You see him looking for work in the last chapter. But most of all you see him with his best friend Lommy as they explore the city, doing things that require no money, watching a baseball game, watching girls bowl at the bowling alley, watching girls sunbathe at Lindamar Beach, watching the vaudeville acts on a Saturday night from the doorway of Cozy’s Cafe, watching the hula-hula dancers and “the only living her-MAW-phro-dite in the world” give short demonstrations at the carnival. Raging hormones play a major role in the novel. Tony and Lommy are drawn to the eternal magnet of woman. Determined to have a sexual experience, they set out on a quest to find a girl or woman who will accommodate them. When they finally find her lying on the sand of Lindamar Beach one dark night, it does not end the way they had expected.

With unblinking honesty, Felix examines a life lived. He recaptures a time and place in history that is receding ever more distant from us. The argument could be made that the second main character in the novel is the city of Gaw itself. Despite his seriousness, Felix is playful at times and manages to find humor in many situations.



Da Gama, Cary Grant,
and the Election of 1934

Da Gama, Cary Grant, and the Election of 1934 is the story of an election for mayor in a Massachusetts mill town in 1934 as seen through the eyes of a ten-year-old Portuguese boy, Seraphin. The incumbent, a Yankee, is challenged by candidates from five different ethnic groups—Irish, French Canadian, Polish, Portuguese, and Jewish. A portrait of each candidate is subtly drawn and we meet campaign workers like Teddy, who has enlisted to help secure a teaching position for his daughter, and Jimmy, a numbers runner who proudly passes out cards announcing his appointment as Assistant Campaign Manager, North End.

But the novel is more than just the story of an election. The specter of the Depression hovers over every scene. Laura, Seraphin’s big sister, describes her job as a fruit-store clerk in every excruciatingly painful detail. And the allure of America is always present for Seraphin in his desire and longing to lead an American life. America also affects the remarkable Secundo B. Alves, the Portuguese candidate. Secundo’s memories of the Azores are honest, authentic, and touching. But when he is defeated in the primary, he quickly bounces back as a supporter of the Frenchman’s candidacy and rewrites his Vasco Da Gama imagery. Secundo is showing the adaptability it takes to succeed in America. Da Gama, Cary Grant, and the Election of 1934 is a valuable historical document and an artistic triumph.



Through a Portagee Gate

  Through a Portagee Gate is both an autobiography and a biography. It gives a remarkably honest self-portrait and an endearing tribute to the author’s father, a Portuguese immigrant cobbler who came to America in 1915. The narrative reveals a deep desire to escape the confines of the immigrant, ethnic world, while also acknowledging a keen nostalgia about one’s past, a need to remember and pay tribute to those who come before us. This Felix accomplishes through unforgettable dialogue and vivid characterizations worthy of Steinbeck, a prose, sometimes poignant, at other times hilarious, that strips human experience to its bare and powerful elements.



Crossing the Sauer

  Crossing the Sauer is a tough, vivid, honest, and tautly written memoir of advancing through Germany with Patton’s Third Army. Join Charley Felix and his Fifth Division mates on a tour of duty with characters worthy of M*A*S*H* or Catch-22: raconteur Berseglaria, bombastic Major Pusey, happy-to-be-alive Harry Folenius, hot-headed Hillbilly, and more. We are carried along through the terror of the assault platoon, the fatigue of days under constant shelling, and the incoherent madness of life at the front. Felix is writing not of history or (usually) of heroism, but of war at a personal level.
  By turns hilarious and poignant, grim and inspiring, Crossing the Sauer bears the earmarks of a classic.




George Monteiro
  "Both comedic and comic, Da Gama, Cary Grant, and the Election of 1934 gives us a full and generous picture of a time and place that now exist because of words on a page, populated by individualized characters and characteristic incidents.

Frank X. Gaspar
  "And Reis Felix, in his novel of vignettes, brings the Portuguese to life with wit and humor, and above all, with an eye for telling detail that any American writer—of any ethnicity—should envy. This book captures the nature of immigrant New Bedford in a way that will make it relevant and entertaining reading for decades to come!"

Llewellyn Howland III
  "In his wonderful new novel, the octogenarian writer (and New Bedford native) Charles Reis Felix tells what it was like to be young and proud and poor and Portuguese in the city in 1934, while a quartet of ethnic Americans (including the Yankee incumbent) duke it out in a wild mayoral election. Generously observed, vividly drawn, and beautifully realized, the fictional city that the author evokes is a New Bedford to celebrate for all its faults—and to read about time and time again."

Katherine Vaz
  "Through a Portagee Gate is a plain-spoken, down-to-earth account of an American voyage, rich in fable, anecdote, and wit."

Frank X. Gaspar
  "Through a Portagee Gate is a valuable document, a record, a history, an autobiography, a memoir, an elegy."

Llewellyn Howland III
  "Through a Portagee Gate is the story of two men told with novelistic brilliance."

Donald Warrin
  "Reading much like a novel, with its rich detail and emotive content, Through a Portagee Gate offers a profound look into the Portuguese immigrant psyche. . . ."

Paul Fussell
  "Felix's is one of the most honest, unforgettable memoirs of the war I've read."

Alvin M. Josephy, Jr.
  "This is absolutely the best volume I've ever read on the GI in World War II."

Edwin P. Hoyt
  "Albeit the memoir tells largely of fear, death, mud, and other vicissitudes, it is laced with ribald soldier humor. . . ."

Library Journal
  "For anyone wanting to know how it felt to participate in the events of World War II, this memoir is highly recommended."

Publishers Weekly
  "Extensive reconstructed conversations. . . lend authenticity and immediacy to Felix's account. . . ."

ForeWord
  "His recollections of this paramount experience in his young   life are vibrant, hilarious, descriptive. . . ."