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'Time and again throughout these sharp, elegant and always brilliantly understated slices of controlled madness, de Assis ... achieves the elusive offbeat surrealist effect that Paul Auster has been pursuing for his entire career' Eileen Battersby, Irish Times 'Machado de Assis was a literary force, transcending nationality and language, comparable certainly to Flaubert, Hardy, or James' New York Times Book Review "He was one of the few writers who not only received a state funeral, but actually deserved it' Louis de Bernieres 'John Gledson's zesty translation and introduction are great strengths of the collection ... The atmosphere of Rio de Janeiro in the late 1800s is evoked ... Yet many of these stories could have been written about our own times' Daily Telegraph
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Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839-1908) was born and lived his whole life in Rio de Janeiro. The son of poor parents, and mulatto, he worked his way to a successful career as a civil servant and a writer. He was revered (though not understood) in his lifetime, and was unanimously elected President of the Brazilian Academy of Letters when it was founded in 1896. He is still universally regarded as the greatest Brazilian writer. John Gledson is Professor Emeritus of Brazilian Studies at the University of Liverpool. He has produced Brazilian editions of Machado de Assis's stories and newspaper columns, and is also the translator of his novel Dom Casmurro (Oxford University Press, 1997), along with novels by Milton Hatoum and critical works by Roberto Schwarz, among others.