For August, Bookclub Brazil takes a look at The Alienist, by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis.
The novella, written in 1881, revolves around Doctor Simão Bacamarte, a pioneering psychiatrist who founds an asylum – Green House – and loses little time in filling it with patients from the local town, using the residents as specimens to develop his theories on insanity.
Bacamarte’s criteria for separating the sane from the insane are somewhat scattergun in nature, and it is not long before over half the town’s population finds itself condemned to his looney bin, a situation which brings about a crisis of conscience for the well-intentioned, if naïve, Doctor.
This month, the Bookclub meeting will take place on 18 August, due to the Olympic Games.
Where: Embassy of Brazil in London
Day: 18 August