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Day 4

The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas by Machado de Assis

Ch 38-58

March 11, 2021 by Larry Rohter

In XLIII, BC’s rival in romance, Lobo Neves, makes his first appearance. “Lobo” means “wolf” in Portuguese, and “Neves” is “snow.” I’ve often wondered whether M was reading the Brothers Grimm while writing PM and decided to insert a very subtle joke.

As a dead man, BC is the ultimate unreliable narrator. Does he really love Virgília, as he claims, or is he merely motivated by jealousy, amour propre, & a desire for revenge? After all, BC describes himself as “a peacock” with “a great deal of vanity.”

In any case, a love triangle of the type that powered many a 19th-century novel is now in place. We know from “the mysterious woman” in I that it continues in some form until BC’s death. But M being M, how will he subvert convention and this plot device?

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