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The Discovery of America by the Turks (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 6 Sep 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; 1 edition (6 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143106988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143106982
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 12.7 x 19.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,033,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Melvyn Elphee on 12 Oct 2012
Format: Paperback
Amado's reputation makes me doubt my own response. But we have seen the Emperor's new clothes praised before and will see them lauded again. As far as I can see, this is a tedious brief novella which wasted a few hours of my life. I hope time, reflection and increased maturity may prove me wrong - my initial reactions to Wagner, Picasso and Tennessee Williams were negative. But in those cases there was a germ of awareness that something was there which I had missed. I do not find any such germ in this trite little damp squib. To get the best out the way first - the translation never made me feel it was a translation and the voices of characters and authors carried credibility. And each chapter is mercifully short. But that really is about it. I am none the wiser about Brazil and its culture (the title would suggest I should be), have no increased awareness of myself, others or the human condition, have met characters I would sooner not have met and been involved in incidents which far from being a celebration of the physical vitality of life have suggested a degradation to the "hanging back with the apes" that Tennessee Williams struggles against so memorably in A Streetcar Named Desire. The basic thesis seems to be that an ugly woman will be made beautiful by a macho male with a big penis who is prepared to whip her into submission literally and metaphorically whenever she gets out of hand. I thought we had grown past this adolescence and am disappointed to find such dysfunctional views still being perpetrated. If one wants to explore such attitudes, Restoration Comedy, Henry Miller and D H Lawrence at least enable us to do so with something that might stimulate insight. I look forward to other reviews indicating where I have gone wrong.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Great Introduction to a Brilliant Writer 2 Mar 2013
By Rachel Anne Calabia - Published on
Format: Paperback
The central conceit of Jorge Amado's The Discovery of America by the Turks is that the American continent wasn't discovered by Europeans but rather by two Arabs carrying Turkish papers back in 1903.

Audacious in its language and exuberance, Amado's novella revolves around the lives of obscure immigrants whose existence would never be inscribed in any official national history. This includes the concerns of the merchant Ibrahim Jafet, who is desperate to marry off his homey daughter Adma, who's become the family shrew ever since her mother passed away. Ibrahim will give Adma's future husband complete control of the family business, but perspective suitors are scarce until the poetic gambler Raduan Murad steps in to play matchmaker.

Two promiscuous bachelors are approached. They are not averse to marrying for money, even if they have to marry someone as ugly as Adma. But who would make the better husband? Does the poor girl even get to choose?

Typical of Amado's novels, both men and women enjoy earthy pleasures while paying lip service to conventional mores, with moral dilemmas dismissed with a wink and smile. In this world, not all matriarchs are emasculating bitches and not all men are polygamous beasts. Maybe this is magic realism at its most wistful.

(A slightly different version of this review first appeared on the San Francisco Book Review website.)
Short but Sweet 6 Jun 2014
By TravelinMan - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jorge Amado is a master story teller who gets to the bottom of Brazilian rural culture. A solid translation makes the story flow flawlessly.
love,sex and sexism in Bahia,Brazil 17 July 2014
By Earl Goldstein - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
interesting and earthy but none the less a boringly sexist novella written by an older brillant writer and published near the end of a 70 year writing career. I assume he is capturing and reflecting social views and mores as they existed 50 plus years ago in a town in the state of Bahia, Brazil. Women in the story are one of several types. They are sometimes prostitutes who have had little social opportunity to become any thing else. Usually they are wise and with good hearts. Other archetypes are strong earthmothers and the third are strait laced conventional women who earn the scorn of the male characters who think primarily of one thing in regards to women, are the women good in bed?
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Worthy of a Shakespearean comedy, said the WSJ 28 April 2013
By Andrew Berschauer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Maybe you have to read this in the original Portuguese to recognize the wonderful language; maybe you have to be Brazilian to enjoy the humorous circumstances. I fail both tests, and this small book that seemed irreverent sitting in the new book section of my local library is happily back on the shelf.

I have also never read or seen Taming of the Shrew, so the twist on Shakespeare is lost on me.

I checked this out to see if it was worth recommending to my Turkish friends. It wasn't.
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