Society

The world rediscovers Brazil’s most incredible writer

This month saw two new translations of “The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas,” one of the most avant-garde books of all time

The world rediscovers Brazil's most incredible writer machado de assis
Photo: WikiCommons

When the late Susannah Hunnewell, publisher of The Paris Review, asked French author Michel Houellebecq how he has the nerve to write some of the things he writes, he replied: “Oh, it’s easy. I just pretend that I’m already dead.” That is the best starting point to discuss one of the most avant-garde books of all time, “The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas,” the 1881 masterpiece published by Brazilian novelist Machado de Assis. In short, it is the autobiography of a dead man. Not an author who wrote before his death. Rather, he died … and then wrote his...

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