Along with The Posthumous Memoirs of BrAs Cubas and Dom Casmurro, Quincas Borba is one of Machado de Assis' major works and indeed one of the major works of nineteenth century fiction. With his uncannily postmodern sensibility, his delicious wit, and his keen insight into the political and social complexities of the Brazilian Empire, Machado opens a fascinating world to English speaking readers.
When the mad philosopher Quincas Borba dies, he leaves to his friend RubiAo the entirety of his wealth and property, with a single stipulation: RubiAo must take care of Quincas Borba's dog, who is also named Quincas Borba, and who may indeed have assumed the soul of the dead philosopher. Flush with his newfound wealth, RubiAo heads for Rio de Janeiro and plunges headlong into a world where fantasy and reality become increasingly difficult to keep separate. Brilliantly translated by Gregory Rabassa, Quincas Borba is a masterful satire not only on life in Imperial Brazil but the human condition itself.
"In superbly funny books, [Machado] described the abnormalities of alienation, perversion, domination, cruelty and madness. He deconstructed empire with a thoroughness and an esthetic equilibrium that place him in a class by himself."--K. David Jackson, The New York Times Book Review
"Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis...[is] a genuine subversive, bent on overturning convention but always with an air of leisurely nonchalance....Quincas Borba consolidates the triumph of a Latin American protomodernist."--Jonathan Keates, The New York Times Book Review
"[A] spirited translation."--Jonathan Keates, The New York Times Book Review
"A graceful new translation of a major novel by the master ironist who remains Brazil's greatest writer of fiction.... A great, teasing, profoundly entertaining book: An unforgettable portrayal of a materially oriented Don Quixote that's also that rariety in any literature--a genuine philosophical novel."--Kirkus