Machado de Assis is one of the most enigmatic and fascinating story writers who ever lived. What seem at first to be stately social satires reveal unanticipated depths through hints of darkness and winking surrealism. This new selection of his finest work, translated by the prize-winning Daniel Hahn, showcases the many facets of his mercurial genius.
A brilliant scientist opens the first asylum in his home town, only to start finding signs of insanity all around him. A young lieutenant basks in praise of his new position, but in solitude feels his identity fray into nothing. The reading of a much-loved, respected elder statesman’s journals reveals hidden thoughts of merciless cruelty.