The sin (excerpt)

Written in 1904, but published only twenty years later, "O pecado" (“The Sin”) delivers one of Lima Barreto’s most scathing critiques of the Catholic Church and its position regarding black slavery in Brazil. The short story also compels readers to reflect on the non-inclusion of the ex-enslaved in post-abolition Brazilian society. Although two prior versions can be found in the Manuscript Division of the National Library in Rio de Janeiro, the first publication would appear only posthumously, in the magazine Souza Cruz (VIII, n. 92, August 1924).

Translated by Ian Reade


This time however, contrary to the norm, Saint Peter, before leaving, took a preemptive look at the list; and this action was useful, because if he hadn’t, perhaps, from that time on, for the rest of time – who knows? – Heaven might have been totally ruined. Saint Peter read the report: there were a lot of souls, many indeed, but out of all them and the attached explanations, one of them stood out and looked particularly odd.

Ebook Espalhe Lima

As part of the Hearing Lima project, Companhia das Letras has made available a free e-book with a selection of short stories by Lima Barreto, organized by Lilia M. Schwarcz. The stories are part of the book Contos completos (Complete Stories) by Lima Barreto, published in 2010.