14 Jan 2019. Reviewed by Anita James. This book is a favorite of mine and I hoped to share it more widely but whether because of the season or because nobody liked it – we ended up with a small intimate group (any more intimate and we could have held it cozily in bed with baby, Eleanor! (note: Those could/could not attend who read the book, highly recommend it! It is an easy read and a great story so do keep it on your “to read” list 🙂
Gabriela the woman-child glides through the Brazilian town of Ilheus, capital of cacao country, at a time of profound change. The gun slinging ‘colonels’ who carved out plantations have had their day and modernity is here, with roads, street lights, bus services, a real port and even an elevator at the hotel…. No longer can a ‘colonel’ kill his wife and her lover and be a hero, nor can the old timers shoot their way to winning an election.
Jorge Amado serves up a rollicking historical tale, poking gentle fun at the bombast of small town notables, at eccentric inhabitants, at immigrants and migrants, and at the love story of two of those, enmeshed in the transition roiling all around them.
Luckily Ilheus sorts itself out, as does the love of Gabriela and Nacib, after finally getting over their ill-advised and unfortunate marriage. Again is Gabriela a happy cook, Nacib naps after a delicious lunch and they meet for torrid nights in the back servant room.”
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