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The Yellow Sofa

José Maria de Eça de Queirós, John Vetch (Translated by)


List Price: 14.95*
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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (11/17/1996)


A compassionate tale of marriage, manners, and betrayal, from the Portuguese master

José Maria Eça de Queirós, the first great modern Portuguese novelist, wrote The Yellow Sofa with (in his own words) “no digressions, no rhetoric,” creating a book where “everything is interesting and dramatic and quickly narrated.” The story, a terse and seamless spoof of Victorian bourgeois morals, concerns a successful businessman who returns home to find his wife “on the yellow damask sofa, leaning in abandon on the shoulder of a man.” The man is none other than his best friend and business partner. While struggling with the need to defend his honor, he fights a stronger inner desire for domestic tranquility and forgiveness. The Yellow Sofa firmly establishes Eça de Queirós in the literary pantheon that includes Dickens, Flaubert, Balzac, and Tolstoy.

Praise For The Yellow Sofa

His excellent prose glides through real experience and private dream in a manner that is leading on toward the achievements of Proust.
— V. S. Pritchett

Eça de Queirós is far greater than my own dear master, Flaubert.
— Émile Zola

A wonderful, gently mocking exemplar of bourgeois morality.
— Publishers Weekly

Portugal’s greatest novelist.
— José Saramago

New Directions, 9780811222181, 128pp.

Publication Date: April 19, 2016

About the Author

One of the leading intellectuals of the "Generation of 1870," José Maria de Eça de Queirós (1845-1900) wrote twenty books, founded literary reviews, and for most of his life also worked as a diplomat, in Havana, London, and Paris.

John Vetch has translated Eça de Queirós’s The Yellow Sofa and To the Capital.