Esau and JacobBy Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis
Esau and Jacob is the last of Machado de Assis's four great novels. At one level it is the story of twin brothers in love with the same woman and her inability to choose between them. At another level, it is the story of Brazil itself, caught between the traditional and the modern, and between the monarchical and republican ideals. Instead of a heroic biblical fable, Machado de Assis gives us a story of the petty squabbles, conflicting ambitions, doubts, and insecurities that are part of the human condition.