“When a friend suggested that CHRONICLE OF THE MURDERED HOUSE might be the greatest modern Brazilian novel, I was startled. There are so many more obvious candidates, after all. But as I thought about it, I realized that the statement wasn’t as strange as it sounds. The book itself is strange – part Faulknerian meditation on the perversities, including sexual, of degenerate country folk; part Dostoevskian examination of good and evil and God – but in its strangeness lies its rare power, and in the sincerity and seriousness with which the essential questions are posed lies its greatness.”
– Benjamin Moser, author of Clarice
Lúcio Cardoso’s 1959 novel, CHRONICLE OF THE MURDERED HOUSE, tells the story of a traditional family’s slippage into social and moral decline. Employing a variety of narrative devices – including letters, diaries, memoirs, statements, confessions and accounts penned by the various characters – the author weaves a complex and thoroughly engaging tale, hauntingly brought to life by a prose style unique in Brazilian literature. Truth and falsehood play out their contradictions, drawing the reader into a plot peppered by adultery, incest, madness and decadence, the overriding theme of which is the conflict between the freedom to live out one’s desires and the constraints imposed upon the individual by social conventions and family values.
A descent into the dark underside of Brazilian culture, with the universal appeal of a great work of literature.
Publication/Status: Originally published in 1959, this Brazilian classic is in its 13th edition by Civilização Brasileira (Record Group). Published by Métailié (France) and Open Letter Books (USA).