5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A Surprising Treat in the English Language!,
This review is from: The Maias (Dedalus European Classics) (Paperback)When I found this book in a book-swap fair in Lisbon I had no idea I would be in for such a literary treat. Margaret Jull Costa's translation is a feast in the beauty of the English language. I am dashing out to buy a Portuguese version to see how it compares, as usually I find Portuguese quite lacking when compared to English.
Dickens is the immediate comparison that springs to mind, but the story is slow paced and drawn out compared to his works and to modern novels, but because the language is so descriptive and sumptuous I quickly decided to slow down my "normal" requirements for a faster paced plot, and just enjoy the book purely for sake of reading beautiful English.
The book also contains social and political messages that ring true today, especially for those living in modern-day Lisbon. However, I must admit I'm not sure if his viewpoint of the duality of the morality expected of either sex was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek or not. Certainly that view expressed in the book was common-place at the time but it raised a few prickles on the back of my neck when I was reading certain passages. The men are almost expected to have affairs with married women, but if the women get caught, if is their shameful ways and fault. The way poor Maria Eduarda is judged when Carlos finds out about her unfortunate past in Paris and England, he is horrified and revolted at first, although he himself was practically two-timing her (with another married woman) at the start of their relationship!! Love wins through though at this point and although the end was hardly a surprise I hated finishing this book. The characters were all fond friends - I shall read this book again! Am starting the Crime of Father Amaro, also translated by MJC, today!