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The War of the Saints [Paperback]

Jorge Amado , Gregory Rabassa
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

1 Jun 1993
The image of Santa Barbara of the Thunder is being shipped to the scity of Bahia to be enshrined at the Museum of Sacred Art. As the boat that will deliver her is docking, she comes to life to save Manela, a young Bahian girl whose flirtatious behaviour has offended her pious family. This magical occurrence announces the start of the festival. The sounds of berimbau drums herald the candombl? rituals that will determine the success or failure of Santa Barbara's magic. Once again the author of DONA FLOR AND HER TWO HUSBANDS shows his consummate ability to tell a story with compassion and sensuality.


Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (1 Jun 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852423722
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852423728
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 13.4 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,141,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Jorge Amado was born in northeastern Brazil in 1912. His early masterpiece is The Violent Land. A political exile in the 1940s, he lived for many years in Prague and Paris. The success of Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands brought Jorge Amado an international audience and translation into forty-six languages with more than 8,000,000 copies of his books in print. The War of the Saints, his latest book, confirms his stature as Latin America's greatest storyteller. Jorge Amado died in 2001.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rich Pageant of Love, Joy and Belief! 3 May 2004
By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Jorge Amado is one of the very finest novelists from Brazil. He combines a rich love for people with a sympathetic view of their life complications. Mix in a little humor, and a tragedy becomes comedy . . . yet the serious commentary remains. His amazing imagination makes the mystical seem as real as what you are holding in your hand. It's almost as though you've entered an alien world, yet on the surface it seems familiar. I'm always reminded on Alice in Wonderland when I read one of his novels.
In this story, the statue of Saint Barbara of the Thunder, a highest esteemed icon is on its way for a special exhibition in Bahia. Upon arriving in that fair city, the statue vanishes and the fun begins! Saint Barbara has come to life and begins to travel all over Bahia. Those who appreciate religious belief will enjoy the fun as people are unable to grasp this miracle.
At the same time, there's another story thread. Young Manela wants to enjoy a festival whose roots are of the spiritualist sort. Fearing for her soul, her aunt Adalgisa seeks to avoid this. At the same time, Manela is drawn to a handsome young man whom Adalgisa sees at inappropriate. Will the path of true love prevail? This story thread is used by Mr. Amado to explore the nature of what it is to do good.
The two story lines eventually merge in one powerful river of satire, irony and good humor. When the heavens collide, can mere mortals hold their ground? Probably not. As in Shakespeare's storms, the turmoil in nature and in the heavens eventually affects the people in all sorts of unexpected ways. You cannot escape it. You also cannot escape the good fun and magical quality of this very funny book.
Be sure to refer to the book's glossary to understand the non-English words in the text.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Viva Amado!!! 7 July 1999
By Peter McGivney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
No one has reviewed this yet??!!! If you want a novel that tells an actual story, a novel that has somehow missed the postmodern worship of irony and minimalism, a novel where the characters are not monosyllabic yuppies picking the scabs of their psychic pain, then this book is for you. This novel is ALIVE!!! Sex, religion, politics, magical realism, are combined with the sights and smells of Amado's native Bahia to form one of the best (and most fun) books I have read in a very long time. Do yourself a colossal favor and get this book posthaste. You wont regret it!
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical Bahia 25 July 2000
By Alex - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you don't know Bahia yet, the delicious food of Salvador, the magic of the african Saints, the sensual beauty of brazilian women, the songs of Caetano Veloso, the powerful capoeira and the burning taste of the cachaça this book is for you. Then, if you want to discover one of the grandmaster of the latin american literature, the funniest and sexiest, run to buy this true masterpiece now. Probably the only book I have read twice. Magical and absolutely not to be missed.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rich Pageant of Love, Joy and Belief! 2 Jun 2003
By Donald Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Jorge Amado is one of the very finest novelists from Brazil. He combines a rich love for people with a sympathetic view of their life complications. Mix in a little humor, and a tragedy becomes comedy . . . yet the serious commentary remains. His amazing imagination makes the mystical seem as real as what you are holding in your hand. It's almost as though you've entered an alien world, yet on the surface it seems familiar. I'm always reminded on Alice in Wonderland when I read one of his novels.
In this story, the statue of Saint Barbara of the Thunder, a highest esteemed icon is on its way for a special exhibition in Bahia. Upon arriving in that fair city, the statue vanishes and the fun begins! Saint Barbara has come to life and begins to travel all over Bahia. Those who appreciate religious belief will enjoy the fun as people are unable to grasp this miracle.
At the same time, there's another story thread. Young Manela wants to enjoy a festival whose roots are of the spiritualist sort. Fearing for her soul, her aunt Adalgisa seeks to avoid this. At the same time, Manela is drawn to a handsome young man whom Adalgisa sees at inappropriate. Will the path of true love prevail? This story thread is used by Mr. Amado to explore the nature of what it is to do good.
The two story lines eventually merge in one powerful river of satire, irony and good humor. When the heavens collide, can mere mortals hold their ground? Probably not. As in Shakespeare's storms, the turmoil in nature and in the heavens eventually affects the people in all sorts of unexpected ways. You cannot escape it. You also cannot escape the good fun and magical quality of this very funny book.
Be sure to refer to the book's glossary to understand the non-English words in the text. That will expand your appreciation of the book.
After you finish, think about where your religious beliefs may sometimes cause you to be intolerant rather than being open to all of God's gifts and children. How can you open your heart and mind?
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Syncretic Saint Seeks Solution to Sexual Snafus 18 April 2004
By Bob Newman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've enjoyed reading Jorge Amado's novels for most of my life. I love to get back into that world of tough guys and sexy ladies who get involved in various good causes, helping the poor or saving the environment, but never fail to appreciate each other fully. I admire Amado's interest in the Brazilian religions known as macumba or candomble, religions based on a mixture of African gods and Christian saints and practiced by millions of Brazilians, whether they possess African ancestors or not. He always weaves a fast-moving, humorous, optimistic, colorful story. How close Amado's world may be to the actual Brazil is something else again. I mean, did "Miami Vice" resemble Miami in any substantial way ?
If you've enjoyed such great novels as "Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon", "The Violent Land", "Tieta do Agreste", "Tent of Miracles", or "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands"---and there are many others---then no doubt you are going to like THE WAR OF THE SAINTS too. It's a slight plot, but Amado performs his usual magic and creates a engrossing story out of it. The wooden statue of a saint disappears en route to a museum exhibition in Bahia. Everyone thinks the statue has been stolen, but actually St. Barbara, the image in question, has suddenly come to life as an African goddess. Her aim is to set aright the sexual lives of several individuals. She does so and resumes her wooden form just in time to save the director of the museum from total ruin. The histories of the various characters, the political and cultural setting of the times (1970s Bahia under the despotic rule of the generals), and lots of detail about Afro-Brazilian religion make up the bulk of the book, which covers a space of only three days. Amado includes large numbers of actual people in his novel this time---how many, I couldn't determine, not being so familiar with the Brazilian cultural scene, but Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gilberto Freyre, and many others do appear. OK, political correctness a la North American feminism does take a hike, but if you can accept that sexual attraction plays a large role in our lives and not everyone lives by the same principles, then you can plunge into the joie de vivre, humor, and happiness that suffuse this novel, like so many others by Amado. I could have called my review "Reading a Samba". For sure it's tropicalismo, but you'll definitely like it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A romp through Bahian culture! 4 April 2010
By R. H. Curtis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Jorge Amado had fun writing this book as he tugs at your leg (or beliefs) from start to finish. His presentation of Candomble' remains ever present and moves to front and center in this narrative. He captures Bahian daily life and its citizens' comments about their neighbors such that the colorful imagery remains painted in your thoughts long after you put the book down. Like with Dona Flor and some of his other books he also discusses in a delightful manner the daily conflicts and torn allegiances between the Catholic Church and Candomble'/Macumba followers. The winner between the two like for most Bahianos can solely be determined by you.

This is a neat book, a fun read. Good for vacation or just passing the time. For those familiar with Jorge Amado's novels this is similar to sitting down with a good friend who has been away for a long time to update you on the most recent town happenings. If you have yet to experience Jorge Amado, this is a good starter as it is relatively short, 300+ pages, entertaining throughout and exposes you to a part of South American life you probably have never even imagined.

[...]
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