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The posthumous diaries of Bras Cubas, know in English as the Epitaph of a Small Winner, is a novel so far ahead of its time as to suprise many a reader, who, expecting the mannered and rational realism of a nineteenth century social satire, finds employed elegant and surreal devices of metaphor and construction such as might have please a magical realist of the twentieth century, and the witty narrative self-conciousness of a diciple of Nabakov.
The narrator inhabits a ominsicient but inert death, from which, with geat irony and humour, but not a little tenderness, he looks back upon his life, exposing the arbitrary and the ridiculous in a climate he describes as suitable for "The alarmingly rapid growth of ideas". His urbane and conversational style will amuse the reader, his exposition of the mores, caprices and pretensions of late nineteenth century Brazilian society will convince the reader that suprisingly little has changed, for all of the passage of a century and several thousand miles.
And it may be worth further encouraging any tempted by the above by pointing out that you are unlikely to survive more than a couple of sentences without a deep belly laugh, and an accompanying, satisfying, jolt of neurons stimulated by the elegant and unexpected combination of ridiculous ideas and the resultant sense of a sudden, epiphanic glimpse of the absurd truth.