Review: The City and the Mountains by Eça de Queirós 

The City and the Mountains [1901/2008] – ★★★★★

“…and in life, only the soul matters” [Eça de Queiroz/Costa, Dedalus, 1901/2008: 174].

Eça de Queiroz’s novels The Maias [1888] and The Crime of Father Amaro [1875] are among my favourite books of all time. Translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa, The City and the Mountains is de Queiroz’s much later novel about the life of Portuguese nobleman Jacinto de Tormes as told from the perspective of his best friend Zé Fernandes. The novel starts in Paris, France (the City) and ends in Tormes, Portugal (the Mountains), presenting a vivid contrast between the busy, money and technology-driven Parisian lifestyle, on the one hand, and the quiet, simple, filled with natural beauty, mode of life in the countryside, on the other. As important as this duality is the psychology of Jacinto de Tormes, a man of great means and even bigger opportunities. However, it turns out that it is not so easy to figure out the purpose of a thing called Life and the quest for ultimate knowledge may not lie in the most obvious of places. Thus, this charming book on duality and human transformation is many things: a delicate city satire, a study of fin de siècle societal eccentricities, a heart-warming presentation of lifelong friendship, and, finally, a lyrical tribute to the beauty of Portuguese countryside.

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The Pumpkin Spice Latte Book Tag

I spotted this tag on Katie Jane Gallagher and Strangely Pop Cultured, and decided to try it because I just could not resist doing an autumn-themed book tag.

Osceola the Seminole Book CoverI. Pumpkin Spice Latte: A Book That Everyone Criticises But Is Actually Delicious:

Osceola, the Seminole by Mayne Reid.

This is a book that some say is only “for children” and “cannot be compared to the works of Jack London or Robert Louis Stevenson”. Well, I have another opinion. This book is THE book of my childhood, alongside other books by Mayne Reid, such as The Quadroon [1856] and The Scalp Hunters [1851]. Osceola, the Seminole has a great sense of adventure and induces warm feelings of friendship and romance. If you liked Jack London’s The Sea-Wolf [1903], then you should also check out The Boy Tar [1859] by Mayne Reid.  Continue reading “The Pumpkin Spice Latte Book Tag”