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message 1: by Kristel (last edited Jan 31, 2017 05:31PM) (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3896 comments Mod
Machado de Assis, Dom Casmurro (1899) is considered Brazil's revered author and Dom Casmurro his best book. I read that the author had written in many different genre's with romance being high on his list. Dom Casmurro is from his post romantic writings. Here, the author is more cynical. Dom Casmurro is consumed with himself to the point he doesn't see it. His character is universal.

Please post any general comments/reviews here.

I took these questions from a couple of sources:

message 2: by Book (last edited Feb 05, 2017 12:29PM) (new)

Book Wormy | 1845 comments Mod
4 stars from me will have to think about the review and come back, I will say though that I liked the way the book was written a kind of romance in reverse.

message 3: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3896 comments Mod
5 stars, The author Machado de Assis is one of Brazil's great authors. His literary style is unique. This book, about 255 pages in length, has 148 chapters. The book starts out telling us how Bentinho Santiago has come to be known as Dom Casmurro, or as a reticent, tight lipped man of a noble nature. The the first person narrative, Dom Casmurro takes us back to his adolescent years and his friendship with the neighbor girl Capitú. His mother has promised that she will give her son to the service of God. Bento has other ideas after he discovers he loves the next door neighbor girl. It is a story of young love ruined by jealousy and we have Shakespeare's Othello as our example. The book starts with the old man looking back at his live that he has lived in Rio. We know he is alone with his servant and is writing his life's story out of boredom.

Yes, it belongs on the list. It is an early and unique example of realism.

message 4: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 166 comments 3 stars

Dom Casmurro is unusually modern storytelling for a book written at the end of the 1800's. You would never guess. It is written as a fictional memoir narrated by one character, Bentinho. Bentinho's mother promised to God that Bentinho would go to the seminary and become a priest, but he falls in love with the next door neighbor's daughter and is unwilling to fulfill his destiny as conceived by his mother.

The story is related in very, very short chapters, which I liked. In addition, Bentinho breaks the third wall, much like House of Cards, and talks to the reader from time to time. There is humor, but it is black.

It turns out that Bentinho is an unreliable narrator, and it also becomes apparent that he has a jealous streak. The author does a great job of keeping the reader's empathy with Bentinho for a great deal of the book.

To me, the brilliance of this book is mostly based on how cutting edge it must have been at the time of its writing. Unfortunately, I just wasn't ever completely engaged by the tale, and I didn't find the end to be satisfying because as the reader, we actually don't know the real truth. We only know Bentinho's truth. Is that clever? Yes. Is it satisfying? Not so much. All in all, I respect the work, but I can't say I enjoyed it.

message 5: by Diane (new)

Diane | 1997 comments Rating: 5 Stars
Read: February 2017

This book really blew me away. It is brilliantly written and executed. I love the uncertainty of the story as told by an unreliable narrator. True, the reader will never know the truth of the ending, besides what the narrator tells us. I don't feel that this detracts from the book but rather makes the book stay with the reader. This book definitely deserves its spot on the list.

message 6: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Robitaille | 900 comments Dom Casmurro (Jose Maria Machado de Assis) **** 1/2

This is one of the great rewards of undertaking the task of reading our way through the List: discovering unexpected and fairly unknown pearls like this novel. Bentinho Santiago, nicknamed Dom Casmurro, proceeds to write his memoirs out of boredom, but also to disclose to some extent why he has received this nickname. It is a love story told by an unreliable narrator, partially blinded by jealousy. The ending is ambiguous and we can only guess what the truth was. I loved the wit exuding on many of the usually small chapters, the size of which provide an interesting reading pace. Quite original for the era and quite fitting the South American style of writing we encounter from Garcia Marquez, for example. Looking forward to reading Bras Cubas.

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