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The Maias

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  17,148 ratings  ·  508 reviews
Carlos is the grandson of Afonso da Maia, the last surviving member of one of Lisbon’s wealthiest and most illustrious families. Carlos is good, handsome, clever, eager to contribute something to society, and yet he appears, as he himself puts it, 'to be one of those weak hearts, soft and flaccid, incapable of preserving any true emotion'. Then, one day, walking along Lisb ...more
Paperback, 714 pages
Published March 14th 2007 by Dedalus (first published 1888)
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  17,148 ratings  ·  508 reviews


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Henry Avila
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I think of countries in reationship to books there are certain ones which come immediately to mind, France :Les Miserables, Russia:War and Peace, Spain of course: Don Quixote, England:1984, the U.S. :Moby Dick to name a few they may not be everyone's favorites yet their essence tells a lot about the nation that produced them.This a roundabout way of coming to the novel I just finished reading and greatly enjoyed,The Maias (Os Maias) it too belongs in this membership of the elite, I apprecia ...more
Francisco
Feb 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is hard to believe that I've lived this long without reading this classic of Portuguese literature. I don't understand. How can a so called semi-educated person like me go through almost a whole life time not knowing of this book's existence? There are some great reviews of this book here in Goodreads that I would urge you to read to find out what the book is about. What I want to do here is simply say that this book should be read the way Don Quixote or Madame Bovary or War and Peace or any ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Os Maias = The Maias, Eça de Queirós

The Maias is a realist novel by Portuguese author José Maria de Eça de Queiroz, also known under the modernized spelling Eça de Queirós. Maia is the name of a fictional family, although some episodes fit into the history of the real Maia family.

The book begins with the characters Carlos Eduardo da Maia, João da Ega, Afonso da Maia and Vilaça in the family's old house with plans to reconstruct it. The house, nicknamed "Ramalhete" (bouquet), is located in Lisbon
...more
David
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a book! I can honestly say that I enjoyed it cover to cover. I can see why this is a classic in Portuguese literature. Sadly I had never heard of the book nor the author until my GR Portuguese friends’ recommended it. Muito obrigado!

Eça de Queirós has been compared to the Portuguese version of Gustave Flaubert. On many levels I can see why. His book tells tells the story of three generations of Lisbon family, and paints a vivid image of the wealthier side of the city around 1875. Like in Fl
...more
Michael Finocchiaro
This is a classic of 19c Portuguese literature and a tour de force telling the story of the Maia family, and particularly the fate of Carlos Maia. It is sort of the classic romantic novel, but with a few twists and some rather colorful characters, one of which, João de Ega, was autobiographical to a degree.

The Maia family is excessively rich with property in Lisbon and in the countryside. Carlos' grandfather, Afonso de Maia, leads the family, but tragedy is not long in coming. His melancholic so
...more
Luís
The two favourite themes of Eça de Queirós are undoubtedly the humiliated conscience of the Portuguese concerning their country in this second half of the 19th century and the passion for love, above all impossible.

In the salons of the Lisbon aristocracy, there is a lot of talk about the apathy that has descended on the country and sterilized its resources: without innovative political talents, without considerable wealth despite large colonies, unable to develop agriculture flourishing or a via
...more
Bob Newman
Love, Life, and Leisure in Lisbon

I wonder if you’ve ever seen the photographs of Alfred Stieglitz, an American who in the 1890s, was the first person to take photos at night, in the rain and snow, and with a hand-held camera as opposed to a large apparatus on a tripod. If you’ve grown up after WW II, as almost everyone today has, you’ve seen zillions of images, many like his. So, OK, you open a book which has Stieglitz’ photos in it. You look, you think, “Yeah, not bad, hmm, pretty good,” and t
...more
Phillip Kay
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
José Maria de Eça de Queiroz (1845-1900) is considered Portugal's greatest novelist, and The Maias (1888) his greatest novel. Other books by de Queiroz are The Sins of Father Amaro (1876) and The Illustrious House of Ramires.

In a long book (over 600 pages) no detail is forgotten, and a convincing picture of mid 19th century Lisbon is built up. The characters all ring true: I felt I knew them well. The dozens of central characters are all alive, real people with faults, somehow lovable - Eça de
...more
Nick
Jul 25, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In "The Maias", Eca de Quieros takes on that familiar European theme, the decline of the Great Family, which is, for example, rendered with great seriousness by Thomas Mann in "Buddenbrooks" and withering scorn by Joseph Roth in "The Radetzky March." Eca de Quieros preceded both Mann and Roth, but like them he sees in that familial disintegration a microcosm of a diseased society, and his vision is even more jaundiced than Roth's. "The Maias" suffers from several of the unpleasant habits of nine ...more
Czarny Pies
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Anthony Trollope or George Eliot
Shelves: portuguese-lit
The Maias is recognized as a great masterpiece of late nineteenth century Portugal. It describes the political, philosophical, and moral debates prevalent in the aristocracy and bourgeoisie of Portugal in the era in a way very similar to that in which George Eliot examines the same debates in late nineteenth century England in Middlemarch. I give George Eliot five stars because I am familiar enough with nineteenth century England that I feel competent to evaluate Ms. Eliot's judgement in these a ...more
Harry Rutherford
May 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
The Maias, by Eça de Queiroz/de Queirós, is a proper doorstop of a C19th novel, over 700 pages long. It’s late C19th, though, 1888. I was trying to think of apt comparisons, and none of them seemed exactly right, but it’s much more George Eliot or Tolstoy than Dickens. Or even early C20th novelists like Forster or Proust. Though the Proust comparison is not so much to do with style as subject matter: the romantic entanglements of wealthy, mildly bohemian society types.

Among the themes running th
...more
Owlseyes


I've read the book so many years ago; I think I was in 10th grade, but I reckon he was one the best scribblers of Portuguese. Of that writ quality I've found no more, until today. None like him. The idea of incest was difficult to grapple with, at that time.


The Proust of Portugal
by James Guida
in: http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2017/05/...

(view spoiler)
...more
Elizabeth Ross
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-stars
I found the Portuguese version of this book in my parents' home and got curious to read it because there are very few books set in Portugal and Eça de Queirós is one of those old portuguese writers that is quite famous. A quick look at the book immediately told me I would never be able to read the portuguese version because the language used is far too complex and formal. But I am not the kind of person that gives up easily and ended up finding the translated version on Amazon (I think?!) and or ...more
Francine Maessen
Oh that was a dose of realism I had been longing for for too long. Eça is marvellous. I did not expect it to be this good or this forward (but I guess one of the strength of realism is that I tend to underestimate how far it is willing to go).

Also, I really miss Portugal now. The descriptions of Lisbon and the lands surrounding it are so lively all I want to do is stroll amongst quintas.
Philautia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Luciana
This was the second time I read this book, and it felt just as good as in the first time. Yes, it's slow paced. Yes, it's about the upper classes, and I truly don't understand why this is sometimes a complaint. Eça de Queirós, as it is to be expected from the author who introduced Realism in Portugal, is extremely critical of the society he writes about. In his books, if anything looks too perfect to be true, well, it probably is. Nothing is sacred: romantism, religion, position, money, politics ...more
Catia Rodrigues
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I absolutely loved this book. I have read it before when I was 17 and taking my first steps into Portuguese literature, as this was one of those recommended/mandatory readings.
I have decided to reread some specific parts to draw some inspiration from Eça's amazing description skills but I just couldn't help myself. This book is brilliantly written! And despite his length and its reputation of being 'boring' or 'too descriptive' (which I highly dispute), I got so caught up in the story (again!) t
...more
Cat
May 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
One of the best books of Portuguese literature. And a very funny one, too.
Rl
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Depicts a rapidly changing Portugal and society and customs of the upper classes during the late 19th Century. It's pitting Romanticism against Modernism, Science versus Religion, and many other beliefs that had held to be true in the past against this changing tide of the future. This is all seen through the lens of the Maias, a prominent family in Lisbon. Alfonso Maia, the patriarch of the family and grounded in tradition sees changes in his son and grandson who are embroiled in relationships ...more
Ruben
DNF at 38%
Lost interest.
Mariana
Feb 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes social criticism in particular, and a great, wit-filled story in general.
Welcome to Portuguese 19th century society! Sit back and enjoy a throughly well written, critical, satirical, humoristic and surprisingly actual view of its virtues and flaws, its characters and habits, its morals and ideas - all by the hand (or should I say pen?) of the most extraordinary of Portuguese novelists and Realistic writers.

The Maias tells the story of a family - from Afonso da Maia (the great patriarch) to his son Pedro (who loves greatly and tragically) to Pedro's son, Carlos da Mai
...more
Joaquim Silva
Apr 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If not for the portuguese lessons' program, I would probably not read this book, at least in the near future, and what a great loss it would be. Although many colleagues and friends, and even my elder sister, told me that "Os Maias" is not an interesting book, specially the beginning, I completely disagree.
Reading throughout the book, I was amazed a lot of times by Eça's writing and how well he described late 19th century's Portugal society with all it's problems and qualities from his point of
...more
Bruna
I must admit that I felt intimidated by this book at first. In part because of its chunkiness but also because it is a mandatory read in school. I felt a bit forced to read this and at first that kind of put me off. But, I gained some courage and dived. And oh my god, I loved it. Yes it is a big book and sometimes it was quite boring due to its extremely detailed writting but it was definately worth it to fight trough those parts. Incredibly well written and, even though it adresses a heavy topi ...more
Katherine
Sep 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a friend keeps recommending jose saramago to me. i don't think i'm smart enough for saramago but saramago calls this dude portugal's greatest novelist - so i think it's a worthy replacement for saramago.

the nyt review makes this novel sound like something of a socially conscious bodice-ripper, which appeals to me.

UPDATE: i didn't find this book to be terrible socially conscious, but it was conscious (and critical) of Polite Society. there is a definite kinship between wharton's most scathing com
...more
Bronwen
Aug 14, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Weighing in at 628 pages, this is a book that begins to hurt one’s pinky when tries to prop it up in bed. But one does not let this stop her.

Published in 1888, The Maias is a sweeping multi-generation stretching saga not unlike that of the Forsytes, but in Portugal. Young men in fine boots discuss art over roast game birds. A woman with pale plump arms wear an ear of corn in her hair at the theater (I’d like to see someone pull that off). A tragic secret seems too obvious to be true, and you are
...more
my name is corey irl
this is apparently required reading for portugess students. which prolly says a lot abt "the portuguese experience" on account of it being a big ass 19cent epic where none of the characters do anything except sleep with each others wives and complain about how shitty it is to be portuguese. also theres the funny scene where the widower pretends he doesnt know the fat spanish prostitute hes seeing an then this other dude imparts the secret to successfully dating spanish babes (its to beat the shi ...more
Rob Stainton
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up
This is obviously a grand work of 19th Century literature. I get the comparisons with Tolstoy and Dickens. But the book is three times as long as it should be: it wasn't until p. 182 that something interesting happened. That makes it very sssssllllloooowwww.

War and Peace is long. Great Expectations is long. But both are gripping. This wasn't.

Had I a life expectancy of, say, 1000 years, I'd have time to read this and the hundreds of other equally worthy but more interesting books. With only abou
...more
Laura
Nov 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
...a little bit boring so far? but worth finding out what the portuguese version of the 19th century novel is like....


ok, i totally take it back! not boring at all. i think at first, i found it hard to reconcile the two prevailing tones in which the book is written: Votairian irony and a kind of light romanticism. it turns out to be really beautiful and affecting in the end. it really scratched my 19th century novel itch.
Maria Carmo
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone.
An emblematic romance by Eça, it shows how society's rules and the secrecy that veiled most "affairs" in the time of "Victorian" morals may end up in a shocking discovery...
Marvelously written, a picture of society and culture, a study into the psychology of a certain time frame...

Maria Carmo.
Jackson Cyril
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the greatest novels of the 19th century, to be sure, but also one of the dullest. Queiros reminds me of the late George Eliot, a great attention to detail, keen powers of observation and superb psychological insight.
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José Maria Eça de Queirós was a novelist committed to social reform who introduced Naturalism and Realism to Portugal. He is often considered to be the greatest Portuguese novelist, certainly the leading 19th-century Portuguese novelist whose fame was international. The son of a prominent magistrate, Eça de Queiroz spent his early years with relatives and was sent to boarding school at the age of ...more

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“- Falhamos a vida, menino!
- Creio que sim... Mas todo o mundo mais ou menos a falha. Isto é, falha-se sempre na realidade aquela vida que se planeou com a imaginação. Diz-se: «vou ser assim, porque a beleza está em ser assim». E nunca se é assim, é-se invariavelmente assado, como dizia o pobre marquês. Ás vezes melhor, mas sempre diferente.”
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“É extraordinário! Neste abençoado país todos os políticos têm «imenso talento». A oposição confessa sempre que os ministros, que ela cobre de injúrias, tem, à parte os disparates que fazem, um «talento de primeira ordem»! Por outro lado a maioria admite que a oposição, a quem ela contantemente recrimina pelos disparates que fez, está cheia de «robustíssimos talentos»! De resto todo o mundo concorda que o país é uma choldra. E resulta portanto este facto supracómico: um país governado «com imenso talento», que é de todos na Europa, segundo o consenso unânime, o mais estùpidamente governado! Eu proponho isto, a ver: que, como os talentos sempre falham, se experimentem uma vez os imbecis!” 62 likes
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