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. . . a smart balance of satire, irony and lyric grace . . .

The Independent

Eça de Queirós's late novel is a hymn to country life: The City and The Mountains satirizes the emptiness of city life and of modernity itself. Wonderfully funny, it bubbles with joie de vivre.

The City and the Mountains

Fiction by José Maria de Eça de Queirós

translated by Margaret Jull Costa

Born in a mansion on the Champs-Elysees, Jacinto is the heir to a vast estate in Portugal which he has never visited. He mixes with the crème de la crème of Paris society, but is monumentally bored. And then he receives a letter from his estate manager saying that they plan to move the bones of his ancestors to the newly renovated chapel–would he like to be there? With great trepidation, he sets off with his best friend, the narrator, on the mammoth train journey through France and Spain to Portugal. What they discover in the simple country life will upend their own lives deliciously.

published September 1st, 2008