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Yellow Sofa [Paperback]

De Queiros Eca , John Vetch
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In a letter cited by the author's son in his introductory note, E a de Queiros (1846-1900) writes of a planned series of short novels "which would be a reflection of contemporary life in Portugal." He adds, "the attraction of these tales is that there are no digressions, no rhetoric, no philosophizing: everything is interesting and dramatic, and quickly narrated." Whether or not The Yellow Sofa was intended as one of these novels, the description fits. Godofredo da Concei ao Alves has a comfortable life: a beautiful wife, Lulu, and a good steady business in partnership with the handsome young gallant, Machado. Alves gets some vicarious pleasure from Machado's romantic escapades until he comes home to find his wife and partner entwined on his yellow sofa. Filled with what he supposes to be righteous outrage, he throws Lulu out and challenges Machado. But reality is an inconvenient intercessor. A duel seems honorable until one of his seconds urges him to make his will. He believes his wife's exile will redeem his home but now his morning shaving water is cold; his breakfast eggs are unpredictable; the cut-glass fruit bowl has a broken handle; and his linen is dirty. Alves is a romantic who likes his comforts and a man who is motivated by an almost interchangeable mix of generosity and cowardice. Most of all, in E a de Queiros's hands, he is a wonderful, gently mocking exemplar of bourgeois morality. (Nov.) FYI: Last year New Directions published E a de Queiros's The Illustrious House of Ramires, which was one of PW's Best Books for 1995.

Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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First Sentence
I ON THAT FATEFUL DAY, GODOFREDO DA CONCEIcao Alves, stifled by the heat and out of breath through rushing from Black Horse Square, pushed open the green baize door of his office in Gilders Street, precisely when the wall clock over the bookkeeper's desk  Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars This book is NOT BY Eça de Queiroz! April 22 2001
Format:Paperback
A terrible mistake was made when, by a weird tradition of some editors of Portugal and Brazil, they attributed to Eça de Queiroz the authoring of this book. Actually it was prepared, published and edited by his son, who even have changed the original text of Eça, omitting some parts of the story and changing others to make it "easier" (for the reader, for the effective traditional society to accept). More details you can find on Eça biographies.
The story itself is far away near to the quality of "O Primo Basilio" or "O Crime do Padre Amaro". OK, they (and this story too) are likely to be a Mexican novel, but by that time Eça work was representing the movement against the Romantic literature. This latter work is much more Romantic rathar than Realism (the literary movement of Eça), since it does not have the traditional irony on the characters readers of Romantic novels, there are no reference to the culture of Portugal, etc., so present on Eça ORIGINAL work.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Taut writing - a story of infidelity June 3 2000
Format:Paperback
I was completely unaware of Eca De Queiros prior to reading this book. He is an excellent writer - although this is a slim volume it successfully moves it characters through a number of changes and emotions as a marriage unravels in infidelity. The portrayal of the emotions, their "wallop", will remain with you long after you've finished the novel and the plot line is forgotten - in this sense, those who read for the quality of the writing may enjoy this book more than those who read for action and plot.
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4.0 out of 5 stars De Quieros: A Final Post Script Feb. 13 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
A terse novel published posthumously 25 years after the author's death. While not his best work, it does seem to capture a recurrent theme in many of his works -- the rejection of Victorian-era morality and propriety. De Quieros probes the subjects of marital infidelity, betrayl, honor, forgiveness and reconciliation in 112 pages! This is an enjoyable, quick primer to De Quieros. By all means pick this up and follow it with The Illustrious House of Ramires and/or The Relic...Happy Reading.
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By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is the first of Eca de Queiros that I have read. His style is economical, his writing seems almost effortless. Likewise, his selection of details packs meaning. This is not a perfect book, but highly enjoyable in the way that fine improvisation satisfies.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Taut writing - a story of infidelity June 3 2000
By M. J. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I was completely unaware of Eca De Queiros prior to reading this book. He is an excellent writer - although this is a slim volume it successfully moves it characters through a number of changes and emotions as a marriage unravels in infidelity. The portrayal of the emotions, their "wallop", will remain with you long after you've finished the novel and the plot line is forgotten - in this sense, those who read for the quality of the writing may enjoy this book more than those who read for action and plot.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars De Quieros: A Final Post Script Feb. 13 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A terse novel published posthumously 25 years after the author's death. While not his best work, it does seem to capture a recurrent theme in many of his works -- the rejection of Victorian-era morality and propriety. De Quieros probes the subjects of marital infidelity, betrayl, honor, forgiveness and reconciliation in 112 pages! This is an enjoyable, quick primer to De Quieros. By all means pick this up and follow it with The Illustrious House of Ramires and/or The Relic...Happy Reading.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "All because of a joke" Aug. 19 2014
By R. M. Peterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
No less than José Saramago said that Eça de Queirós is Portugal's greatest novelist. As a writer of realist fiction, Eça has been placed in the same rank as Flaubert, Balzac, and Tolstoy. This is the second novel of Eça's that I have read. ("The City and the Mountain" was the first.) And, yes, he is a great writer. And, yes, he is a realist. But there is a tongue-in-cheek, playful quality to Eça's writing, at least as represented by the two novels that I now have read. Eça gently mocks the pretensions of humans. His view of life is essentially comedic, not tragic.

In THE YELLOW SOFA, respectable Lisbon businessman Godofredo da Conceiçao Alves (I don't know Portuguese, but a name like that surely would not be given to a tragic hero) returns to the office to be told by the clerk that his business partner and close friend Senhor Machado left to attend the theater. Alves goes about his work until he suddenly realizes that it is his fourth wedding anniversary. He quickly leaves to make arrangements for a special dinner and on his way home he buys his wife Lulu a bracelet -- a golden serpent with two rubies for eyes, biting its own tail, symbolizing lasting continuity. When he gets home, he silently proceeds to Lulu's boudoir to surprise her with his early arrival and the gewgaw, he draws the curtain, and there, on a yellow damask sofa, is Lulu in a white negligee gazing languorously at a man whose arm is around her waist . . . and the man is Machado.

Alves's life is turned akilter. His rage knows no bounds. Lulu clearly cannot live in his house any longer. He summons her father to collect his daughter. His father-in-law, however, claims that he cannot afford to take her back; furthermore, Alves, gentleman that he is, surely would not throw her out on the streets. It appears that the only option is for Alves to pay the father-in-law a monthly stipend to take back Lulu, plus an extra sum for the next few months so that the father-in-law can spirit her away from Lisbon to a seaside resort to minimize the potential for nasty gossip. As for Machado, well there must be a duel. But what kind of duel? "A duel with swords, two shirt-sleeved business men aiming clumsy and futile thrusts at each other until one was wounded in the arm -- that seemed to him ridiculous; nor was it fitting that they should exchange a couple of pistol shots, miss each other, and then each of them, flanked by seconds, turn and climb ceremoniously into hired carriages." And so goes the novel, posing one quandary after another, with Alves continually having to reconcile his impulses to the social world around him.

To tell the truth, THE YELLOW SOFA is something of a literary bonbon. It certainly is not on the order of "Madame Bovary", or "Lost Illusions", or "Anna Karenina". But its 112 pages make good fare for an evening's reading.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this for the same reasons I like Nabakov. July 6 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the first of Eca de Queiros that I have read. His style is economical, his writing seems almost effortless. Likewise, his selection of details packs meaning. This is not a perfect book, but highly enjoyable in the way that fine improvisation satisfies.
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