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"A small masterwork, freshly translated , by one of the great novelists of the 19th century. A retired Brazilian diplomat (Ayres) recounts the love affair of a young widow who would rather be faithful to her dead Romeo. How she rejoins the world of the living, rekindling Ayres' spirit as well, is told with muted allusions to Brazil's plantation life and its emancipation of the slaves."
"This novel first appeared in 1908 , the year of Machado de Assi s' death . . It is a mild story, mildly told with a muted form of irony . . it is without self-pity, an elegiac book . . . unmistakably the work of a masterful writer."
"Packed with wit, with compassion, with valiant self-knowledge. It is an experience I urge you to undertake."
--Cleveland Plain Dealer
"A novel as ironic as any of Machado's earlier fiction, but with a new sense of ripeness and tender regard for those whom life tries and tests. It is a last fitting monument to the art of Machado de Assis."