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The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas Paperback – Feb 18 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (Feb. 18 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195101707
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195101706
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 14.1 x 21.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #236,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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Format: Paperback
Machado de Assis! What can a say??? I was born in Brazil after all. It is really a shame that my comrade and also a reviewer: Leonardo Motta, a disciple of David Hume and Sigismund (C.S. Lewis' satirical nickname of Freud in the "Pilgrim's Regress" ) previously said "Corruption, frustrated love, cheats: this is what this book is all about." . Well Mr., that's YOUR way of looking at things, YOUR world view. You sound just like Carl Sagan and all those skeptics who are skeptics about everything except THEIR OWN skepticism (and there lies the first contradiction). Well of coarse, this philosophical debate is out of the scope of this review.
Now, about Machado de Assis? what could I say. He was born into extreme poverty, his mother was sort of portuguese and his father sort of black (I apologize for my vocabulary limitations :-). Despite of all his health problems and the inferiority complex he had, (he was about 2.5/8 black - that meant prejudice expressed outward and inward) He came to be the greatest Brazilian writer of the 19th century. His writing style differs from the hall of fame writers such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky (who could articule the complexity of human nature describing feelings that even I wasn't aware of their existence) in both prose and point of view (perspective). His works certainly stand on their own (just like Fernado Pessoa). That's why he is regarded as great and certainly he could easily cast shadow on all the Brazilian Mordenism writers when compared with them. And I really mean ALL!!!
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Format: Paperback
The story begins by the end, literally,by showing the end of the narrator's life. From this moment on we are compelled to see how his life had been, his evaluations, regrets and happy moments. Read to whom (or "which") he dedicates the book. There's a movie version that is perfect and hillarious! A must read if you like dark, but still extremely intelligent, humor.
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By A Customer on May 16 2003
Format: Paperback
Although most people identify Brazilian literature with the vivid regionalism of Jorge Amado or (more recently) the mystical blabber of Paulo Coelho, Brazilian critics have long hailed Machado de Assis as the country's greatest writer and with good reason. This book is vivid proof of Machado's genius: deeply perceptive of human nature as in much of his work, but also radically innovative in style, displaying many traces of modernism some 30 - 40 years ahead of time. How else to characterize the chapter on the "Ancient Dialogue between Adam and Eve" (LV), written solely with punctuation? Or the one-sentence "useless" chapter (CXXXVI): "Unless I'm very much mistaken, I've just written an utterly useless chapter." The style is not without substance. Machado's trenchant insights on human nature and unabashed social criticism are brilliantly displayed in this work.
Machado's own view of the book was that it was too serious and deep for the frivolous and too playful and radical for the erudite readers of the time, and concluded in his usual pessimism that it would have "perhaps five" readers. Since the book continues to accumulate "fives and fives" of readers, perhaps humankind, like the flawed Brás Cubas, is also a "small winner" after all.
Factoid about the chapter size: As other reviewers noted, the book has numerous short chapters. One chief reason for this was that Machado was afflicted by epileptic attacks and could not write for extended periods.
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Format: Paperback
Well I always thought that the critics of Machado de Assis were exaggerating his capability, mainly because the critics usually point that he focus more on the psychological aspects of the characters rather than the story itself. That is absolute not true, even in the Realism phase of Machado. This book is the history of a common insignificant person living in the XIX century in Brazil. What is interesting about this book are the reflections that the author do that are sometimes even funny. He criticizes the idea of understading the social and individual behavior from a mechanicist point of view and exposes the culture distorted by the capitalism and politics exposing the ordinary life of an ordinary man. Corruption, frustrated love, cheats: this is what this book is all about.
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Format: Hardcover
This excellent and extremely original novel marked the transition from Romanticism to an authentically Brazilian literature. Written in very short chapters, it is the autobiography dictated from his grave, of a wealthy bachelor, his love affairs, his rompy relationship with his family, his friendship with the extravagant philosopher Quincas Borba (the subject of another novel), his political ambitions and delusions and his -very- particular view of the world. The style is concise, sarcastic, hilarious, cynical and he's constantly sustaining a dialogue with the reader. In a way, it is a novel rewritten in every read, since it seems to be written by the author AND the reader.
This novel accurately portrays the enivronment of upper classes in Rio de Janeiro in the middle XIX century. But note that, despite being funny and comical, in the background there is always a tone of sadness and pessimism. It is an intelligent, bittersweet and excellent work of literary art. Read it and you'll be much rewarded.
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