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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

The Double Death
of Quincas Water-Bray

Jorge Amado

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To purchase The Double Death of Quincas Water-Bray

Title: The Double Death of Quincas Water-Bray
Author: Jorge Amado
Genre: Novel
Written: 1959 (Eng. 2012)
Length: 77 pages
Original in: Portuguese
Availability: The Double Death of Quincas Water-Bray - US
The Double Death of Quincas Water-Bray - UK
The Double Death of Quincas Water-Bray - Canada
The Double Death of Quincas Water-Bray - India
Les deux morts de Quinquin-La-Flotte - France
  • Portuguese title: A Morte e a Morte de Quincas Berro d'Água
  • Translated by Gregory Rabassa
  • With an Introduction by Rivka Galchen
  • Previously published as The Two Deaths of Quincas Wateryell in a translation by Barbara Shelby (1965)

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Our Assessment:

B+ : amusing trifle

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The NY Times Book Rev. . 28/11/1965 Dudley Fitts
TLS . 25/1/2013 Claire Williams
Wall St. Journal . 22/11/2013 Martin Riker

  From the Reviews:
  • "The Double Death is the deftly constructed tale of the apparent demise of the eponymous Quincas, a mystery from the very start (.....) Amado, like Quincas, is a hoaxer who loves to trick his readers. He never confirms or denies exactly when, or if, or how many times the old rogue actually dies, turning him into a myth -- the best kind of memorial." - Claire Williams, Times Literary Supplement

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       The Double Death of Quincas Water-Bray is so slight as to barely even qualify as a novella, but it's an amusing little trifle. It tells of the day of Quincas Water-Bray's deaths -- plural, since his initial death isn't quite as clear-cut as one might want these things to be.
       Central to the difficulty in considering Quincas Water-Bray's death is the fact that there was an even earlier death to take into account:

if not physical, a moral one at least, dating back some years earlier, which brings the total to three, making Quincas some kind of record holder in matters of death, a champion at dying
       What happened was that one-time devoted and proper civil servant Joaquim Soares de Cunha, after his retirement after twenty-five years dutifully on the job, at the age of fifty simply abandoned: "his family, his home, the habits of a lifetime, his circle of friends" -- and became the entirely dissolute Quincas. A "drunkard, scoffer, and gambler" -- and: "'The king of the tramps of Bahia,' the crime blotter in the newspaper had said."
       So, for the shamed family, death becomes an opportunity -- to welcome their Joaquim back in the fold. With death comes the end of Quincas Water-Bray, the family wants to believe. Why not see now, about this Quincas:
That he had been nothing but an invention of the Devil ? A bad dream ? A nightmare ?
       Ah, but there's a reason for the uncertainty the question marks imply. Not everybody wants to forget Quincas, or see in the dead man only fine and upstanding Joaquim. And when Quincas' old drinking buddies show up at the wake -- and then promise to watch over him that night -- things go dreadfully and comically awry.
       It's an amusing idea; it's nicely spun out and related; and though it's little more than an episode -- a short day-in-the-life (or, rather, death) story -- it is certainly good fun: an amuse-gueule that whets the appetite for more Amado.

- M.A.Orthofer, 13 August 2012

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The Double Death of Quincas Water-Bray: Reviews: Jorge Amado: Other books by Jorge Amado under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Brazilian author Jorge Amado lived 1912 to 2012.

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© 2012-2021 the complete review

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