The Vice of Love

(O Vício Do Amor)

Mario Sabino

Sabino’s stunningly brilliant second novel. In the first part the narrator demolishes any sense of morality one may think to find in the world of work. He’s been commissioned to write an article on the world of work for a literary magazine. He mocks Max Weber, Marx and others who talked about dignity and transcendence through work – according to the narrator these are just ways to cover up the existential misery of employees as well as bosses. The narrator initially appears anti-Semitic but later declares himself to be a Jew. Actually, he is angry because his father left his Catholic mother and his only son in poverty, just after formally converting the little boy to Judaism. In the second part the narrator reveals that the magazine refused to publish his hilarious article but he continued writing nonetheless and the article became a book in which he tells of his hateful mother, how he failed to love two women, how bad he is as a writer, how dreadful being a journalist is – and how he moved to Rome after receiving a huge inheritance from his missing father. In the third and last part, he describes his ‘dolce vita’ in Rome. Here he meets a dazzling young Jewish woman who is involved in pro-Palestinian activism. The narrator feels he has finally found love but nothing is as it seems and in the end he learns some very bitter truths. Sabino’s novel intertwines literature, philosophy, history and religion to bring to the reader a complex and darkly comic picture of the modern world.

‘Mario Sabino creates a seductive scoundrel. In its irony and intensity, it is spot on. The main character seduces. His cantankerous speech becomes endearing. Such characters are rare, which is why we need them so much.’ Folha de Sao Paulo

‘Sabino handles his material cleverly and uses all the literary possibilities available to him very well. Sabino’s novel is an intellectual amusement park that invites you to reread the novel and that feeling is rare.’ Knack Focus

‘More than worth a read.’ De Volkskrant

‘In Mario Sabino’s second novel, a stormy and tormented narrator makes up as he goes along, as a way to reveal. It’s healing by writing.’ Veja

‘THE VICE OF LOVE speaks of the indifference and cynicism that mark the ruins of the new millennium.’ Estadao


  • Record Brazil
  • Ambo Anthos NL

Material: Brazilian edition, with preface by João Pereira Coutinho; complete English translation available.