Here's a very short summary of the plot. It is the story of a man, starting with his childhood, and his love for Capitu, the neighbour's daughther. In time, he marries her, and eventually comes to believe her unfaithful. Such a simple storyline doesn't hint at how good the book really is. Narrated in third person, the author nevertheless places the reader over the main character's shoulder, so that the reader can only see what the main character sees, and we have access only to that character's thoughts. Whatever he notices in Capitu to make him think her unfaithful is a mark of his own jealousy, and that is also the measure we are allowed to see; everything else the reader must fill in the blank spaces by him/herself. The author shows a very skillful hand; it is unavoidable to ask oneself if she really was unfaithful, and it is impossible to really know, of course. Fortunately, we can move well beyond that, and ask ourselves what type of character is that of the main actor in the drama, capable of such jealousy for someone who is, after all, known to him since his childhood. We all suffered from small insecurities in our lives, some of them real, some of them imaginary, and some of them we transcend, and we put behind us. The subtle description of episodes in the book constructs a mosaic of our own soul. Also of interest is the description of Brazilian society in the late 19th century; the characters are at the so called top of the social ladder, but the other characters which depend on them, and how they orbit the rich in a dependence relationship, are all there. Besides that, there's even more to be had if one looks at the situation of women in general as portrayed in the book. What makes it a great book, though, is what the author shows us about ourselves.