Portuguese literature is home to jewels, fantastic books, in diverse styles, books to which we always end up returning at one time or another in our lives.
Os Maias - The Maias
It is Eça de Queiroz’s absolute masterpiece, a must-read and most likely the greatest novel ever written in the Portuguese language. It tells the story of the rich and powerful Maia family, belonging to the nobility of the 19th century, and of the loves of Carlos da Maia, grandson of the patriarch Afonso and self-confessed dilettante. It is also a merciless criticism of Portuguese society at the time, with Eça’s pen sparing no one and nothing.
A Queda de um Anjo - The Fall of an Angel
A Queda de um Anjo tells the epic story of Calisto Elói, a provincial squire who ends up being elected a member of the national parliament. He is forced to move to Lisbon, leaving his beloved countryside. Despite Calisto’s initial purity, the solid and traditional man from Trás-os-Montes ends up being corrupted by the luxury and pleasures of the capital.
Memorial do Convento - The Convent Memorial
Written by the only Nobel Prize winner in Portuguese literature, José Saramago, Memorial do Convento was published in 1982, becoming an unavoidable reference in the bibliography of the writer born in Azinhaga do Ribatejo. The story takes place in the early 18th century, during the reign of King João V (and the construction of the Mafra Palace), and criticizes the exploitation of the poor by the rich, which leads to war between individuals, and the corruption inherent in human nature, with a special focus on religious corruption.
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