The Maias: Episodes from Romantic Life

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New Directions Publishing, 2007 - Fiction - 628 pages
3 Reviews
Our hero Carlos Maia, heir to one of the greatest fortunes in Portugal, is rich, handsome, generous and intelligent: he means to do something for his country, something useful, something that will make his beloved grandfather proud. However, Carlos is also a bit of a dilettante. He drifts along, becoming a doctor and pottering about in his laboratory, but spends more and more time riding his splendid horses or visiting the theater, having affairs or reading novels. His best friend and chief partner in crime, Ega, is likewise engaged in a long summertime of witticisms and pleasure. Carlos however is set on a dead reckoning course with fate—with the love of his life and with a terrible, terrible secret...

Newly translated by the acclaimed translator Margaret Jull Costa (translator of José Saramago's Blindness), New Directions is proud to bring Eça de Queirós' brilliant prose to life for American readers for the first time.

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The maias: episodes from romantic life

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This great saga (1888) by Portugal's greatest realistic writer has never gotten its due in the English-speaking world, which is ironic since much of it was written while its author served in the ... Read full review

Review: The Maias

User Review  - Katherine - Goodreads

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 ... Read full review

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About the author (2007)

Eca de Queiros was unquestionably Portugal's greatest novelist. Beginning his career in the 1860s as a journalist, he became a constant literary innovator. He participated in the realist-naturalist revolt against the era's dominant romantics, headed by the poet Antonio Felicano de Castilho. The revolt's two main manifestations were the Coimbra Controversy of 1865 (A Questao Coimbra) and the Democratic Speeches at the Lisbon Casino in 1871. With The Sin of Father Amaro (1876) Eca de Queiros introduced realistic and naturalistic techniques into Portuguese fiction. Set in Leiria, this is a long, tedious novel about provincial life, pettiness, ignorance, and corrupt clergy. Much of its detail comes from Eca's experience in Leiria as a low-level bureaucrat. His second novel, Cousin Bazilio (1878), is Madame Bovary set in Lisbon. The Maias (1888) is his greatest work, a final attempt to create a Portuguese Human Comedy. Although critics have focused on Eca's social criticism and protest, he was, as well, an "imaginative, critical, and witty observer of the people" (Guerra da Cal). Another side of Eca de Queiros appears in The Mandarin (1880), The Relic (1886), The Illustrious House of Ramires and The City and the Mountains (1901). All but the third have humor, fantasy, wit, social criticism, and didactic purposes in common. The first two books tell the reader that honesty, frankness, hard work, and courage are the keys to happiness and success. The City and the Mountains advocates a return of the educated upper class to the soil, to regenerate, in a paternalistic fashion, a national dynamic among the folk. The protagonist of The Illustrious House of Ramires ransoms his family's prestige through colonial enterprise. It must be remembered that the last two novels were written after the humiliating ultimatum delivered by Great Britain in 1890, which forced Portugal to give up its claim to the central African territory between Angola and Mozambique.

Margaret Jull Costa has translated into the English more than 35 books, including Nobel Laureate Jose Saramago's "All the Names" & "The Tale of the Unknown Island", Antonio Perez Reverte's "The Flander's Panel", Fernando Pessoa's Book of Disquiet" & Luisa Valenzuela's "Bedside Manners". She lives in London.

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