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Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon Paperback – 31 Dec 1991

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Paperback, 31 Dec 1991
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Product details

  • Paperback: 425 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Books; Reissue edition (31 Dec. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380754703
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380754700
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 981,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
In that year of 1925, when the idyll of the mulatto girl Gabriela and Nacib the Arab began, the rains continued long beyond the proper and necessary season. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is certainly one of Jorge Amado's masterpiece. His description of the people and customs of Southern Bahia, during the Cocoa boom early this century is inebriating. A small bit of the story atmosphere is lost in the translation, but you can still smell the cloves and cinnamon in Gabriela, feel Nacib's mix of desire and passion, hear the voices and sounds of his cafe, and visualise the people and places. Set against that fascinating background, you will find an absorbing story of love and political intrigue.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Brazilian frontier town of Ilhéus in the 1920s, made prosperous by its extensive cacao plantations and a magnet for both foreign entrepreneurs and starving migrants from Brazil's hinterland, forms the backdrop to Jorge Amado's exuberant folk tale. It is an unruly place inhabited by chancers, prostitutes, gigolos and gunmen and had been run along feudal lines by intimidating local despot Colonel Ramiro Bastos for 20 years until the arrival of ambitious journalist Mundinho Falcão from Rio with plans to win the election and to modernise and civilise the town. The divisive clash of characters and political wills is the principal thread running through the book though the title story revolves around kind-hearted, Syrian-born bar owner Nacib Saad whose business is thrown into turmoil by the sudden loss of his cook. At the local `slave market' he comes across a wild-looking girl from the backlands of Brazil's dusty and poverty-stricken north-east who used to cook for a rich family. The arrival of Gabriela, a mesmerising and sensual beauty with cinnamon-brown skin and smelling of cloves, ups the town's testosterone level and her besotted new employer/master seeks any means possible to tame her and keep on to her in the face of all the sweet-talking, groping and bribing by the town's sexually-charged men folk. Should he marry her or would that suppress her vibrant spirit, her essence?
Occasional explosive crimes of passion and assassinations, and eye-popping levels of promiscuity and procreation, make Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon a wonderfully entertaining treat with a broad canvas of colourful characters all intent of making the most of life in a society where justice is administered by the strongest. If this book had been released today in English it would have been an instant hit. Highly recommended.
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By Dr R TOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 Jan. 2015
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Brazilian writer Jorge Amado, 1912 - 2001, was born near Ilhéus, in Bahia State, which is the location of this novel, published in 1958, and here translated by James L. Taylor and William L. Grossman.

The translation dates from 1962 but, with the exception of a few jarring phrases [`otherwise his employees would ball things up', `But shucks, a man like Mr Nacib isn't goin' to marry just anybody.'], creates the necessary energy and exoticism. The author grew up on a cacao plantation and this novel describes urban and rural life, and the effects of development and post-agrarian industrialisation on the social, economic and political fabric of the region in the mid-1920s.

This is a period of cacao harvesting and, in the outlying areas, of deforestation. Violence remains just under the surface and prevailing tradition has it that if a wife is having an affair, her husband has the right, indeed the obligation, to kill both the lovers. He will be arrested, though not imprisoned and will be found innocent. This is a South American frontier novel with much of the amoral activity being a direct result of sheer boredom and economic necessity.

As befits the complex multiculturialism of Brazil, the central story is that of the Syrian-Brazilian bar owner, Nacib Saad, and the young mulatto, Gabriela. When they first meet, he can hardly make out her age or features because, having walked to escape droughts in the north of the country, she is covered in dust and wears a collection of rags. After he has asked her to bath, a sign of his honesty and generosity, he recognises just how beautiful she is [`her skin the color of cinnamon and her smell like clove'] but it still takes time for them to become lovers. Even then she retains her innocence and good nature.
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By A Customer on 10 Feb. 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a non-politically correct romp through the lives of the beauties, beasts, wits and clowns, villains and heroes who pass through this brazilian town's best cafe, owned by the Arab Nacib. Gabriella, the eponymous innocent heroine who smells of clove and cinnamon, charms everyone she touches, including the reader of Amado's masterpiece. The novel is a love story, a political thriller, a comedy, a wry comment on the relations between men and women, and a gentle debunking of the latin american macho tradition. Read it and weep!
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By A Customer on 25 Nov. 1999
Format: Paperback
I've been struggling with this book for a couple of months. I am enjoying it but don't find it nearly as engaging as Dona Flor, The Tent of Miracles or a couple of others I've read by Amado. I miss all the mysticism of the Candoble and don't find any of the characters particularly engaging.
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