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Preview — The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas by Machado de Assis
The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas
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how is this genius is not known? at the top of the literary canon? only a species as cretinous as ours could ignore machado. along with carpentier and mutis, he takes the top 'what the fuck' spot.
top three reasons why machado must be read:
1) 1880! 18fucking80! madman machado wrote a modernist masterpiece way back when. gotdamn, he makes joyce look like a late Bloomer! in this hysterical and darkdarkdark nuthouse you get the narrator's crazy drawing ...more
“Do not mourn the dead. They know what they are doing.”
― Clarice Lispector, The Hour of the Star
With those lines, Lispector might have introduced this novel by her countryman. Told from the other side of the grave, we learn of the narrator’s small successes and small failures, ultimately balanced in the totality of things. Braz Cubas, the narrator, provides his autobiography, and his philosophy, with a gentle humor in a novel which anticipates the best of meta-fiction, breaking with a Romantic...more
... this book is written with apathy, with the apathy of a man now freed of the brevity of the century, a supinely philosophical work, of an unequal philosophy, now austere, now playful, something that neither builds nor destroys, neither inflames nor cools, and, yet, it is more than a pastime and less than an apostolate.
My Goodreads morning started on an emotional note today. I logged in and found a book recommendation by Ali, friendly comments from Dolors and Dustin, the surprised mention of m ...more
The reader, like his fellows, doubtless prefers action to reflection, and doubtless he is wholly in the right. So we shall get to it. However, I must advise that this book is written leisurely, with the leisureliness of a man no longer troubled by the flight of time; that is a work supinely philosophical, but of a philosophy wanting in uniformity, now austere, now playful, a thing that neither edifies nor destroys, neither inflames nor chills, and that is at once more of a pastime and less th...more
Although The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas are written in a very frolicsome manner the book is abundant in precise and deep observa ...more
First, there is the absolutely gorgeous jacket design, including this painting, Young Man with a Pen by Diego Rivera:
Second, Mike Puma recommended this. Mike is the go-to guy for Latin American literature.
And then, in an introduction (by Bras Cubas), the author announces that he has "adopted the free-form of a Sterne or a Xavier de Maistre" in the writing of these Memoirs.
Well, saddle me up and call me Tristram.
Machado de Assis has indeed captured Sterne, down t ...more
Every season of life is an edition that corrects the one before and which will also be corrected itself until the definitive edition, which the publisher gives to the worms gratis.This really speaks to me. because I've gone through like twenty editions of myself - not because of demand, just that previous ones were like riddled with typos.
I've read de Assis before, and it's great to revisit his weird, modern style. Writing in the late 1800s, De Assis is the Pushkin of Brazil - the father of thei ...more
Therefore, at first, I did not know how to react to this kind of literary work. Some say it is a novel but the author, the Brazilian Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839-1908) says that is is a memoir. However, a memoir is supposed to be fiction. But how could this be ficti ...more
What can you say about a book that starts with the funeral of the main character, Bras Cubas? He died on a Friday in August 1869 at the age of 74. He was happy that he was accompanied by eleven friends to the grave but it was raining. Darn. Cause of death? Pneumonia. But he was rich, prosperous and single. So it wasn’t all that bad. So why not write a book about his life?
And what a tale. Although death seems to be a major topic, love is the main player.
Bras Cubas has a thing ...more
There's a freshness to his writing that holds up well today. I was nervous at first because I knew it was only ...more
the translation is incredible. while it's not quite impossible to believe that this book was written in 1880 (tristram shandy of course was even crazier a hundred years earlier), it is impossible that this tr ...more
To my gr friend who suggested this book to me:
Thank you, young lady. You may have half my years, but your IQ is at least fifty points higher than mine.
This book may have been like a dip in the pool for you, but for me it was as if I was dropped somewhere in the ocean with tumultuous waters and no land in sight.
The writer’s genius along with Erasmus, Seneca, and Schopenhauer’s breath throughout makes this story quite challenging.
I no longer need to stand on top of th ...more
Brás Cubas, is quite the person of drama, tells the story of his life once gone from birth to the complete circle of ...more
There are similarities here with Machado de Assis' other masterpiece, "Dom Casmurro", both in the manner the narrators ended up (alone) and their principal fema ...more
When I tracked it down I noted that Susan Sontag wrote the introduction for the first English translation in 1952 (the translation was done by William L. Grossman). With both Woody ...more
It's impossible to adequately describe this incredibly clever first person delivered "posthumous autobiography." There are many insights, both oblique and covert, and a multitude of lessons to glean. You don't ...more
One gets the feeling in the Usofa that we are being threatened with a post-fiction era. Readin ...more
I think the cheeky voice has thematic implications which reinforc ...more
I was less impressed with the stylistic trickery (and enough has been said about that, just read the other Goodreads reviews) than with the voice: often boastful, he still allows you to see all his faults and weaknesses. And though you see all his faults and weaknesses, he still comes across as extremely likeable. Though he ...more
It's hard to find words to describe how much I enjoyed this. Like most Brazilian literature books, I had some prejudice towards this one - people who read it said it was difficult to understand, fit for intellectuals. That fear kept me away from Machado de Assis until quite recently, but after reading Helena and finding that the author can be quite entertaining, I gave his most famous book a shot.
Right on the first page I had the feeling I had discovered a ...more
"You are alive: I wish you no other calamity." (18)It is difficult to believe/accept that this was written in 1880. There is a blurb on the front cover of my copy of David Foster Wallace's Oblivion, which I've always found particularly annoying and off-putting. Zadie Smith gushes: "A visionary, a craftsman, a comedian… He's so modern he's in a different time-space continuum from the rest of us. Goddamn him." If that can be said of DFW, then one can only imagine the superlatives that should be be ...more
Brazil has produced a number of wonderful novels. I can name "Rebellion in the Backlands" by Euclides da Cunha, "The Devil to Pay in the Backlands" by João Guimaraes Rosa, "The Tent of Miracles" and "Gabriela; Clove and Cinnamon" by Jorge Amado, and "The Three Marias" by Rachel de Queiroz, but these are only a few. You have to add to this list at least a couple novels by J. M. Machado de Assis, Brazil's greatest writer of the 19th century, (he died in 1908) ...more
The honest, humorous ...more
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