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The Crime of Father Amaro Paperback – 1 Feb 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Carcanet Press Ltd; New edition edition (1 Feb. 2003)
  • Language: Spanish
  • ISBN-10: 1857546849
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857546842
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 824,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Eca de Queiros (1845-1900) was Portugal's greatest nineteenth-century novelist. His works brilliantly evoke, and condemn, the rapidly changing society of his time. He travelled widely as a diplomat and, though he considered himself an apostle of Naturalist Realism, he is at heart an ironist, with the severity and compassion of Stendhal.

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Chris F on 14 Dec. 2007
Format: Paperback
Firstly, ignore the "official" Amazon review under the synopsis - this is intended for the film based on the book.

The book is firmly set in Portugal, although ranges as far away as Paris in its search for reasons to heap opprobrium on the Catholic Church.

Whether this was intended as an indictment of Portuguese culture, the Catholic Church, or both is not clear. Either way, the book tells the enthralling tale of a young man whose ambition is to be a priest.

Not, you understand, because he is Holy. Because it brought "fringe benefits" as they might say. Celibacy is not the counter to these benefits that you might expect and thereby revolves one of Father Amaro's most telling (but not only) sins.

Consequences follow actions and hence the novel unfolds.

I can only imagine the reaction to this novel when it was first published, but even today it is breathtakingly cynical. I loved every word and heartily recommend it to anyone who is Catholic and also anybody who isn't.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 July 2003
Format: Paperback
One of the best novels by (arguably) the best novelist Portugal have ever had, "The crime of Father Amaro" deals with the power of the church in a small provincial town in 1860's Portugal. Here we can see how powerful the representatives of church are, but we also look at their hypocrite lifestyle.
In the center of the book is Amaro, a young priest, ordained without ever being consulted and the love affair he has with Amelia, the daugther of his hostess.
Made recently into a film in Mexico, the novel has the power and strenght laking in the fim. It is a pity that the only reason this is not hailed as universal classic is the language it was written.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Maynard on 28 April 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Crime of Father Amaro was a revelation to this reader. It's not just breathtakingly satirical and (as other readers have noted) cynical, but it manages to combine this with real wisdom and compassion (a difficult trick to pull off, since cynicism is so often heartless); and (in this superb translation by Margaret Jull Costa) comes across as wickedly stylish and inventive in terms of its language. The range of characterization is masterly; and what I particularly liked was the way in which our sympathies change as we read on. Father Amaro appears more sinned against than sinning for about the first half of the narrative: we feel genuinely sorry for his social isolation and angry at the injustice of his enforced celibacy. But then, when we discover how selfish and corrupt he has become, while still acknowledging that society IS at least partly to blame, we gradually stop feeling that his actions are in any way justifiable. The tragic consequences of his behaviour come with a chilling suddenness and savagery, and there is a wonderfully ironic final section set some years later, which ferociously condemns not just Father Amaro himself but the whole of Portuguese society at this time. And how topical this novel seems at a time when the Catholic Church is rent by scandals of a related kind!

This is a truly great book: it's up there with Crime and Punishment, Madame Bovary, and Anna Karenina as one of the titanic masterpieces of world fiction, and deserves to be much more widely known. I can't wait to read more of de Queiroz's fiction.
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