Written by Portugal's Mario de Sa-Carneiro between 1-27 September 1913, this contains the trademarks of his works, madness, solitude and identity. Three years later Mario was to take his own life after knowingly drinking strychnine.
This tale takes place in Paris and Lisbon of the fin de siecle, and the decadence of the period is clearly shown. Lucio has gone to Paris to study law, but is soon amongst the artistic community where he experiences the decadent movement and makes friends. He attends an oppulent party where a more or less sapphic orgy is being performed with the hostess making a dramatic exit, indeed reading between the lines she probably kills herself.
Eventually becoming better acquainted with Ricardo he finds himself having an intense affair with his wife. But knowing that she is also having affairs with others he finds himself obsessed with finding indications on her body of these people and using them to get closer to that person. But when Ricardo shoots his wife there is no body except his, dead and Lucio standing by. This is Lucio's confession written after he has served ten years in prison.
Surreal to a certain degree this looks forward to what Kafka would produce in the future, also the tale is highly erotic, mainly along the lines of homo-eroticism, which may discourage some from reading it. Considered by many to be Sa-Carneiro's masterpiece this is certainly something that is unforgettable.