by José Maria de Eça de Queirós
Set in Lisbon at the close of the nineteenth century, The Maias is both a coming-of-age novel and a passionate romance. Our hero, Carlos Maia, heir to one of the greatest fortunes in Portugal, is rich, handsome, generous and intelligent: he means to do something for his country, something useful, something that will make his beloved grandfather proud. However, Carlos is also a bit of a dilettante. He drifts along, becoming a doctor and pottering about in his laboratory, but spends more and more time riding his splendid horses or visiting the theater, having affairs or reading novels. His best friend and chief partner in crime, Ega, is likewise engaged in a long summertime of witticisms and pleasure. Carlos, however, is set on a dead reckoning course with fate—with the love of his life and with a terrible, terrible secret… Newly translated by the acclaimed translator Margaret Jull Costa (translator of Jose Saramago’s Blindness), New Directions is proud to bring Eca de Queiros’ brilliant prose to life for American readers for the first time.