Pang's Reviews > Dom Casmurro

Dom Casmurro by Machado de Assis
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's review
Jan 13, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: constant-reader
Read in February, 2010

** spoiler alert ** This is not a long book, though it took me a long time to finish it. Let that not be a reflection of how the book is because it's one of a better books I've read recently.

The book is narrated by Bentinho (Bento) Santiago, and the story is about his life. He was in love with his childhood friend, Capitolina (Capitu) and wanted to marry her, though he couldn't because of the promise that his mom made to God that she would raise him to be a priest. Bento asked Capitu before he left for the seminary that "'... Promise me that I'll be the priest that marries you?' 'No, Bentinho,' she said, 'that would mean waiting a long time; you won't be a priest for a while, it takes many years ... Look, I'll promise something else; I'll promise that you will baptize my first child.'" Sad, is it?

Then the story turned. Bento and the dependent, Jose Dias, found a way for Dona Gloria to fulfill her oath to God, but without Bento becoming a priest. He married Capitu and had a son. Then, his best friend from the seminary died suddenly in a swimming accident. At the funeral, Bento observed his wife's affectionate reaction to the death of this friend. Since then he was convinced that the son wan't his, but actually of Escobar. Capitu called Bento crazy. He wanted to kill himself, then thought that she should have been the one to die, and even tried to kill the son. He went to the distance of sending both Capitu and Ezequiel to Switzerland for schooling. He seldom visited, and Capitu died and buried oversea.

The book just isn't what I was expecting, but better. I was getting caught up on their love for each other, which led me to believe that there had to be a twist somewhere. But the twist was much better than I'd expected. I knew that there would be doubts about Ezkequiel being Bento's son, but it also left me wondering whether it was really true... That Ezkequiel wasn't really Bento's or was it just Bento's wild imagination. Like the cover said, "It's also a story about love and its obstacles, about deception and self-deception, and the failure of memory to make life's beginning fit neatly into its end." There is a thin line between love and hate. Bento loved Capitu so much and could hate her much more to the point that he left her dying far away from him. Made me sad.

There's one passage that really stuck out to me:
Before the discovery of that evil land of truth, we had other tempests, of short duration; it was never long before the sky was blue, the sun shining and the sea smooth: we would set our sails to cross it once more, and they would take us to the loveliest isles and coasts in the universe, until another squall would upset everything, and we would lower our sails, waiting for a further spell of fine weather, and when it came, it was neither slow nor uncertain, but complete, trustworthy, and sure.

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01/13/2010 page 20

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