Agustina Bessa-Luís: Fanny Owen [Fanny Owen]

The latest addition to my website is Agustina Bessa-LuísFanny Owen [Fanny Owen]. The book is set in the mid-nineteenth century. A fairly rich landowner José Augusto de Magalhães becomes friend with an impoverished writer, the very real Camilo Castelo Branco.
Camilo has problems – financial, health, political. attempted suicide but José Augusto helps him out they do occasionally clash. It becomes more complicated when José Augusto is attracted to Maria Owen, daughter of a British colonel and his (estranged) Brazilian wife. His relationship with her seems to be on and off as he he changes his s feelings for her. Meanwhile Camilo seems more interested in her sister Fanny. However when Maria goes away for a while José Augusto switches his affections to Fanny, particularly when Camilo says he does not love her. However Fanny is concerned about her sister’s feelings but when José Augusto suggests abducting her, she does not object. Of course, it all goes horribly wrong. To some extent this is a feminist novel as women are clearly more constrained than men but it is also something of a satire on nineteenth century Porto. society.

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