on 26 April 2016
Captains of the Sand, or in its original, Capitaes da Areia, is a beautifully told story of my home town, JOrge Amado's home town, Salvador da Bahia. It paints the perfect portrait of what it is like living as street urchins in Salvador, therefore it is taught in schools all over Brazil, teaching about its socialist idealism. It isn't just a story, it is a detailed account of what the reality of many children is. A book written in 1937 and is still relevant in 2016. It is timeless because these problems still exist in Bahia and all over Brazil.
Normally I would rate this book a 10 out of 5 if that was even an option.
I rate it less purely because the English translation is very poor, keeping out some important descriptions and names.
There are indeed some things that get lost in translation between Portuguese and English, but some local Bahia terms are also lost unfortunately. Ideally you would want to read it in Portuguese or find a well translated copy to be able to get the full blast of the story.
on 26 August 2015
Captains of the sands It tells the story of street kids in Salvador - Bahia in the 30s.
They are seven to fifteen years old and live by begging, gambling and stealing, abandoned in the streets of Salvador.
Being homeless, they call themselves “Captains of the Sands".
I recommend this book.
on 29 November 2014
One of Brazil's finest books. The translation may haven taken away the magic of afro-Brazilian Bahia in the 40's, but still this book gives an amazing and vivid insight into the drama lives of street boys experiencing on their skins the contradictions of the unique culture and history of Brazil, and, more specifically, of Bahia.
on 3 June 2008
The first edition of Captains of the Sands, published in 1937, was seized by the Brazilian government and burnt in public. Jorge Amado's novel, depicting the story of street children in Brazil who rape, steal and kill (much like their future counterparts in Paulo Lins' 1997 novel City of God) was an attack on the rich oligarchy that controlled and exploited Brazil and the corrupt church that turned its attention away from the poor and the needy.
The street children, who sleep at night in a disused building on the beach and work the streets during the day, have a sixteen-year-old blonde boy, Pedro Bala, for their leader, who also happens to be the son of a union leader killed during a protest. Pedro's followers are a mixture of children with various criminal skills and broken pasts, who for one reason or another became homeless and will now do anything to survive. A priest with communist leanings tries to protect and help them, together with a Mãe-de-Santo (a priestess to the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomblé) and an old friend of Pedro's father who works in the docks.
Some passages in the novel are still controversial today: boys sexually abuse one another, or seek to rape girls on the beach at night for sport; one of them develops a love affair with a prostitute in her thirties; another one sleeps with a woman in her late forties though he secretly wishes to kill her. The boys are precocious beyond their years - brutally turned into men by the streets they live on and the type of life they follow.
Despite Amado's forceful presentation of Communism as a saving ideology - his use of the characters as representations of what either works or not in society - as well as his excessive sentimentality at times towards the "little brave heroes", the boys' exploits and adventures are enough to keep the reader's interest and paint a bleak picture of the lives poor children led in Brazil in the first half of the 20th Century.
This review was also published in Transmission Magazine.
on 8 February 2014
found it rather drawn ,none engaging ,not my type ,other may find it otherwise ,it has given insight only sorry am not to write further ,thank you