In honor of a recent trip to Rio, I revisited Dom Casmurro, the classic of Brazilian classics. Normally I don’t revisit classics because, no matter how relevant, their language has ceased to be current.
But Dom Casmurro is the exception, and not just among its Brazilian peers. Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, its author, makes the book timeless by using tricks from his time – an unreliable narrator, authorial intrusions, adultery – and beyond his time – surrealism, magical realism and dark, self-deprecating humor.
Above and below are a few samples of how Machado de Assis’ 1899 novel is more present than the admittedly sexier Bovary:
1. The chewing worms
2. To be sure
3. This is the chapter
5. The flash
Read Colorado 2011