Against a backdrop of political corruption Jose lives an ordinary life, working a dead-end job catching mice in a dingy movie theater. Everything changes when he meets his wife Rosa thanks to the help of the Happy Heart Marriage Agency. They seem to have an understanding: Jose isn’t bothered by Rosa’s dishonesty, extra weight, and fantastically promiscuous past; Rosa isn’t too put off by Jose’s clubbed foot, periodic blackouts, or lack of direction—she just wants a house. Pragmatic, Jose sets out to get the money necessary to make that possible. And in doing so, he manages to become a robber, sniper, and political subversive wanted by the government.
Deploying fast-paced, short chapters in a number of styles, Brandão deftly presents an array of engaging characters and conflicts, vividly depicting the absurdity of a repressive political regime with exceptional daring and humor.