This article needs additional citations for
Cover of volume 1 in the first edition (1888)
|Original title||Os Maias|
|Translator||Patricia McGowen Pinheiro|
|Publisher||Livraria Internacional de Ernesto Chardron, Lugan e Genelioux|
Published in English
458pp (Vol. 1)
532pp (Vol. 2)
Os Maias: Episódios da Vida Romântica ("The Maias: Episodes of Romantic Life") is a
As early as 1878, while serving in the Portuguese consulate at
The book largely concerns the life of young
The analysis of the book is compulsory for
The book begins with the characters Carlos Eduardo da Maia, João da Ega, Afonso da Maia and Vilaça in the family's old house with plans to reconstruct it. The house, nicknamed "Ramalhete" (bouquet), is located in Lisbon. Its name comes from a tiled panel depicting a bouquet of sunflowers set on the place where the stone with the coat of arms should be. As the introductory scene goes on, the story of the Maia family is given, in a flashback style by Afonso.
Afonso da Maia, a Portuguese well-mannered man, is married to Maria Eduarda Runa and their marriage only produces one son – Pedro da Maia. Pedro da Maia, who is given the typical romantic education, becomes a weak, low-spirited and sensitive man. He is very close to his mother and is inconsolable after her death. He only recuperates when he meets a beautiful woman called Maria Monforte with whom he gets married despite his father's objection. The marriage produces a son, Carlos Eduardo, and a daughter, whose name is not revealed until much later. Some time later, Maria Monforte falls in love with Tancredo (an Italian who is staying at their house after being accidentally wounded by Pedro) and runs away to Italy with him, betraying Pedro and taking her daughter along. When Pedro finds out, he is heartbroken and goes with his son to his father's house where he, during the night, commits suicide. Carlos stays at his grandfather's house and is educated by him, receiving the typical British education (as Afonso would have liked to have raised his son).
Now back to the present, Carlos is a wealthy, elegant gentleman who is a doctor and opens his own office. Later he meets a gorgeous woman at the Hotel Central during a dinner organized by João da Ega (his friend and accomplice from University who lives with Carlos) in honor of Baron Cohen, the director of the National Bank. After many comical and disastrous adventures he finally discovers the woman's name – Maria Eduarda, and ends up meeting her. The two fall in love and have dozens of nights together, drinking and having sex. However, the two start seeing each other in secret after an incident where a redneck-like man named Dâmaso, Carlo's ex-friend and rival, writes an article in a newspaper, accusing, humiliating, making fun of and revealing the past of Carlos and Maria. Eventually Carlos finds out that Maria lied to him about her past and he starts fearing the worst. Mr. Guimarães, a good friend of Maria's mother and an uncle-like figure to her, talks to Ega and gives him a box meant to be given "to your friend Carlos... or to his sister!". Ega doesn't understand this statement, because Carlos supposedly never had a sister. Ega is horrified and in state of shock when he realizes that Maria is Carlos's sister. Ega, in despair, tells everything to Vilaça (the Maia family attorney) who informs Carlos about the incest. Carlos informs his dying grandfather, and Afonso becomes shocked with these news. However, Carlos cannot forget his love and doesn't tell anything to Maria. Afonso dies because of apoplexy. At last, Carlos informs his newfound sister that they are siblings and that they cannot live like this anymore. Maria says one last goodbye to her former lover and to her friends before going away to an unknown future. Carlos, to forget his tragedies, goes for a trip around the world.
The book ends with a famous scene in Portugal, where Carlos returns to Lisbon 10 years after he left. He meets Ega and combie a boys-only night to have fun together. At one point, they agree that there is nothing in the world that is worth running for. Ironically, as soon as they go out to the street, they realize that they missed the last cable car and they start running after it, shouting "We can still catch it, we can still catch it...!", closing the story in a both philosophical and comic way.