R-Lo said, "I've just read and reviewed Machado de Assis' great 1899 novel Dom Casmurro for my Book around the World selection for Brazil. My review is here for anyone interested."
Like other great nineteenth century novels -- The Scarlet Letter, Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary -- Machado de Assis's Dom Casmurro explores the themes of marriage and adultery. But what distinguishes Machado's novel, and what makes it such a delightful discovery for English-speaking readers, is its eccentric and wildly unpredictable narrative style. As he recounts the events of his life from the vantage of a lonely old age, the narrator Bento continually interrupts his story to reflect on the writing of it. But the novel is more than a performance of stylistic acrobatics. It is an ironic critique of Catholicism, in which God appears as a kind of divine accountant whose ledgers may be balanced in devious as well as pious ways. It is also a story about love and its obstacles, about deception and self-deception, and about the failure of memory to make life's beginning fit neatly into its end.