Machado de Assis is considered the pre-eminent writer of Brazil. Quincas Borba is one of his four most important novels and features some of the same characters as Memorias Postumas de Bras Cubas. The main character of this novel is a well-meaning country fellow who moves to the city with his dog, Quincas Borba, named after the mad philosopher who was his previous owner. As the dog's new owner explores the social, political, and commercial world of the city, he also tries to come to grips with the motives that lie behind every human action and begins to ponder what madness really is. Despite the "heavy" messages behind this book, the narration is light-hearted, allowing readers to laugh both at the foibles of society and at themselves.