A Chapter of Hats

A Chapter of Hats : Selected Stories - Tranlated by John Gledson

3.85 (60 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Two gentlemen standing outside a church in Rio de Janeiro see a respectable lady emerge - one of them has an unexpected, and to him inexplicable story to tell about her past life as a prostitute; a popular composer of polkas burns the midnight oil in a desperate attempt to create great classical music; a teenager finds himself caught up by the sight of the bare arms of an older woman who lives with his employer; an impoverished, lazy young man turns to the lucrative trade of catching runaway slaves; and, dull, monotonous Mariana has a tiff with her husband about the hat he wears to town, and decides to sing 'the Marseillaise of matrimony' by going off on a trip to town herself with her more daring, flirtatious friend Sophia. These are some of the situations developed in these stories, some of the most brilliant to have been written in the nineteenth century. They echo Poe and Gogol, they anticipate Joyce, they have been compared to contemporary works by Chekhov, Maupassant, and Henry James, yet they are not quite like any of these.
Anyone who has read "Epitaph of a Small Winner" or "Dom Casmurro", his most famous novels, will want to savour these stories - those who haven't, will find them a varied and enjoyable introduction to Machado's work.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 30mm | 421.84g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0747594619
  • 9780747594611
  • 459,391

Review quote

PRAISE FOR MACHADO DE ASSIS 'He was one of the few writers who not only received a state funeral, but actually deserved it...He is still laughing at us from six feet down, and cordially invites us to join him, both in his laughter and his grave. Enjoy his books and, if you go to Rio, place a potato on his tomb.' Louis de Bernieres 'Machado de Assis was a literary force, transcending nationality and language, comparable certainly to Flaubert, Hardy, or James.' New York Times Book Review 'No satirist, not even Swift, is less merciful in his exposure of the pretentiousness and the hypocrisy that lurk in the average good man and woman. Machado, in his deceptive way, is terrifying.' New Republic
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About Machado de Assis

Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839-1908) was born and lived his whole life in Rio de Janeiro. The son of poor parents, and mulatto, he worked his way to a successful career as a civil servant and a writer. He was revered (though not understood) in his lifetime, and was unanimously elected President of the Brazilian Academy of Letters when it was founded in 1896. He is still universally regarded as the greatest Brazilian writer. John Gledson is Professor Emeritus of Brazilian Studies at the University of Liverpool. He has produced Brazilian editions of Machado de Assis's stories and newspaper columns, and is also the translator of his novel Dom Casmurro (Oxford University Press, 1997), along with novels by Milton Hatoum and critical works by Roberto Schwarz, among others.
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Rating details

60 ratings
3.85 out of 5 stars
5 30% (18)
4 38% (23)
3 20% (12)
2 10% (6)
1 2% (1)
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