There’s something suitable, in this year gone awry, that the best novel I have read in 2020 purports to be an autobiography written from beyond the grave (“I am not exactly an author recently deceased, but a deceased man recently an author”) and that it was first published in 1881 (after appearing in installments in the Revista Brazileira). With 2020 being 2020, The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas (Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas) has been rendered from Portuguese into English not once, but twice, even if it has been read by me not twice, but once.1 The New Criterion arranged for me to be...


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