Wager

Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, Author, Joaquim Maria Machado De Assis, Author, Machado de Assis, Author
Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, Author, Joaquim Maria Machado De Assis, Author, Machado de Assis, Author Peter Owen Publishers $34.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-7206-0772-7
Reviewed on: 12/01/1990
Release date: 12/01/1990
De Assis (1839-1908) displays in his ninth novel the dry wit and measured understanding of human nature that earned him his reputation as Brazil's first major writer. Avoiding the explosive political situation in late-19th-century Brazil (slavery had just been abolished), the book concerns itself with the small, self-contained world of the Rio bourgeoisie. It purports to be the journal of a retired diplomat named Aires whose literary efforts are sidetracked when he meets enchanting young widow Fidelia Noronha. Fidelia has come under the protection of the Aguiars, an elderly, childless couple who hope to reintroduce her into society and orchestrate a possible marriage. Aires gives up his dream that Fidelia will fall in love with him when the Aguiars' godson Tristao, a doctor and rising politician in Lisbon, returns to visit his native country. Both the Aguiars and Aires are delighted by the young people and do everything to throw them together. When Fidelia and Tristao, with the thoughtless, careless passion of youth, disappoint them, the elderly friends are forced to consider their own mortality and find solace among themselves. (Oct.)
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