Queirós is far greater than my own dear master, Flaubert.

—Emile Zola

An unflinching portrait of a priest who seduces his landlady’s daughter.

The Crime of Father Amaro

Fiction by José Maria de Eça de Queirós

Translated by Margaret Jull Costa

A priest explodes after a fish supper while guests at a neighbor’s birthday party are wildly dancing a polka. So begins José Maria Eça de Queirós’s The Crime of Father Amaro––a sparkling, lucid satire of clerical corruption set in Leira, a small city in Portugal, during the 1870s. Young, virile Father Amaro (whose name means “bitter” in Portuguese) arrives in Leira and is taken in as a lodger by São Joaneira. Her budding, devout, dewy-lipped daughter Amelia is soon lusted after by the young priest. What ensues is a secret love affair amidst a host of compelling minor characters: Canon Dias, a priest, glutton, and São Joaneira’s lover; Dona Maria da Assunção, a wealthy widow with a roomful of religious relics, agog at any hint of sex; João Eduardo, repressed atheist, free-thinker, and suitor to Amelia. Eça’s incisive critique flies like a shattering mirror, jabbing everything from the hypocrisy of a rich and powerful Church, to the provincialism of Portuguese society of the tinte. Haunting The Crime of Father Amaro is the ghost of a forgotten religion of tolerance, wisdom, and equality. Margaret Jull Costa has rendered an exquisite translation and provides an informative Introduction to a story that truly spans all ages. The Crime of Father Amaro inspired a series of magnificent paintings by the Portuguese artist Paula Rego, one of which graces the cover of this edition. The novel was also made into a controversial film, El Crimen del Padre Amaro, by Mexican director Carlos Carrera in 2002.

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Paperback (published May 1, 2003)

ISBN
9780811215329
Price US
14.95
Trim Size
5x8
Page Count
480

José Maria de Eça de Queirós

19th century Portuguese diplomat and writer

Queirós is far greater than my own dear master, Flaubert.

—Emile Zola