Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon

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Overview

One bright spring day in 1925, Gabriela arrives from the poverty-stricken backwoods of Brazil to the lively seaside port of IlhEus amid a flock of filthy migrant workers. Though wearing rags and covered in dirt, she attracts the attention of Nacib, a cafe owner, who is in desperate need of a new cook. So dire is his situation that he hires the disheveled girl. The savvy young woman quickly proves to be an excellent chef and --once well-scrubbed and decently dressed--an eye-catching beauty. Nacib quickly finds ...
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Overview

One bright spring day in 1925, Gabriela arrives from the poverty-stricken backwoods of Brazil to the lively seaside port of IlhEus amid a flock of filthy migrant workers. Though wearing rags and covered in dirt, she attracts the attention of Nacib, a cafe owner, who is in desperate need of a new cook. So dire is his situation that he hires the disheveled girl. The savvy young woman quickly proves to be an excellent chef and --once well-scrubbed and decently dressed--an eye-catching beauty. Nacib quickly finds himself the owner of the most prosperous business in town--and the employer of its most sought-after woman.

"An exciting and enjoyable romp of a book, rich in literary delights." — The New York Times

"Enchanting...a comedy vivid, believable, and entertaining." — The Atlantic Monthly

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times
An exciting and enjoyable romp of a book, rich in literary delights.
Atlantic Monthly
Enchanting . . . a comedy vivid, believable, and entertaining.
Nation
A twentieth-century Charles Dickens . . . a master craftsman . . . a great storyteller.
New York Times Book Review
A charismatic storyteller . . . no other Latin American writer is more admired by his peers, nor has any other exerted so great a creative influence on the course of Latin American fiction.
New York Times
An exciting and enjoyable romp of a book, rich in literary delights.
New York Times Book Review
A charismatic storyteller . . . no other Latin American writer is more admired by his peers, nor has any other exerted so great a creative influence on the course of Latin American fiction.
The Nation
A twentieth-century Charles Dickens...a master craftsman...a great storyteller.
Library Journal
Brazilian novelist Amado's takes on love and marriage were released in 1969 and 1962, respectively. Dona Flor loses her unlucky gambler husband and remarries a sweet guy. She can't quite get hubby Number 1 out of her head, however, when he suddenly reappears, looking to take up where he left off-especially in the bedroom. Newcomer Gabriela finds herself pursued by her boss after landing a cook's job at his caf , but what will the townspeople say if he marries a migrant girl? Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“An exciting and enjoyable romp of a book, rich in literary delights.” —The New York Times

“An enchanting and romantic novel . . . . A comedy vivid, believable, and entertaining.”—The Atlantic Monthly

“One hardly knows what to admire most: the dexterity with which [Amado] can keep half a dozen plots spinning, the gossamer texture of his writing, or his humor, tenderness and humanity.” —Saturday Review

“Gossipy, funny, very much alive.” —The New Yorker

“A twentieth-century Charles Dickens. . . . A master craftsman.”—The Nation

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394425979
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/1962

Meet the Author

Jorge Amado—novelist, journalist, lawyer—was born in 1912, the son of a cacao planter, in Ilheus, south of Salvador, the provincial capital of Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon. His first novel, Cacao, was published when he was nineteen. It was an impassioned plea for social justice for the workers on Bahian cacao plantations; and his novels of the thirties and forties would continue to dramatize class struggle. Not until the 1950s did he write his great literary comic novels—Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon, and Dona Flor and her Two Husbands—which take aim at the full spectrum of society even as they pay ebullient tribute to the region of his birth. One of the most reknowned writers of the Latin American boom of the sixties, Amado has been translated into more than 35 languages. A highly successful film version of Dona Flor was produced in Brazil in 1976. He died in 2001.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Languor of Ofenísia
(whose importance must not be judged by
the brevity of her appearance)




"In this year of headlong progress . . . "
(From an Ilhéus Newspaper of 1925)



Of The Sun and The Rain and a Small Miracle


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. Whenever two planters met in the street, they would ask each other, with fear in their eyes and voices:

"How long can this keep up?"

Never had they seen so much rain. It fell day and night, almost without pause.

"One more week and we may lose everything."

"The entire crop . . . "

"God help us!"

The crop gave promise of being the biggest in history. With cacao prices constantly rising, this would mean greater wealth, prosperity, abundance. It would mean the most expensive schools in the big cities for the colonels' sons, homes in the town's new residential sections, luxurious furniture from Rio, grand pianos for the parlors, more and better-stocked stores, a business boom, liquor flowing in the cabarets, more women arriving in the ships, lots of gambling in the bars and hotels-in short, progress, more of the civilization everyone was talking about.

But this unending downpour might ruin everything. And to think that only a few months earlier the colonels were anxiously scanning the sky for clouds, hoping and praying for rain. Ah through southern Bahia the cacao trees had been shedding their flower, replacing it withthe newly born fruit. Without rain this fruit would have soon perished.

The procession on St. George's Day had taken on the aspect of a desperate mass appeal to the town's patron saint. The gold-embroidered litter bearing the image of the saint was carried on the shoulders of the town's most important citizens, the owners of the largest plantations, dressed in the red gowns of the lay brotherhood. This was significant, for the cacao colonels ordinarily avoided religious functions. Attendance at Mass or confession they considered a sign of moral weakness. Church-going, they maintained, was for women.

Not that the colonels played no part in the religious life of the community. Their role, as they saw it, was to provide funds, upon request of the Bishop or the local priests, for church buildings and activities. They financed the parochial school for girls, the episcopal residence, catechism classes, novenas, the month of Mary, charity bazaars, and the feasts of St. Anthony and St. John.

That year, instead of spending St. George's Day swilling in bars, there they all were, walking contritely in the procession, each with a candle in his hand, promising the saint everything in the world in exchange for the precious rains. The crowd followed the litters through the streets, praying along with the priests.

Adorned in his vestments, hands joined, face touched with compunction, Father Basilio led the prayers in his sonorous voice. He had been chosen for this important function not only because of his professional capacity but also because he was himself a plantation owner and therefore had a special interest, not shared by his colleagues, in divine intervention. He could be relied upon to pray with all the strength at his command.

Father Basilio's exaltation inspired transports of ecstasy in the old maids clustered around the image of Mary Magdalene. They could hardly recognize in him the indifferent priest whose Masses were breathtakingly short and who listened so inattentively to their long confessions unlike Father Cecilio, for example.

The priest's vigorous and self-interested voice rose high in ardent prayer. So did the nasal soprano of the old maids and the mixed chorus of colonels and their families, tradesmen and their employees, exporters, workers from the country come to town for the occasion, longshoremen, sailors, prostitutes, professional gamblers and assorted good-for-nothings, the boys of the catechism classes, and the girls of the Daughters of Mary. The prayer rose to the diaphanous, cloudless sky, with its pitiless sun--a murderous ball of fire set on destroying the newborn sprouts of cacao pods.

At the latest ball of the Progress Club, some ladies prominent in local society had agreed to walk barefoot in the procession, and they were now fulfilling this promise, offering the saint their elegance as a rain sacrifice. Further delay on his part was wholly inadmissible. He could see the affliction of his people, he could hear their appeals--all sorts of desperate promises in exchange for a quick miracle.

Nor did St. George remain unaffected by their prayers, the sudden and inspiring piety of the colonels, and the ladies' bruised feet. Doubtless he was touched especially by the anguish of Father Basilio. The priest was so fearful of the fate of his cacao that, between prayers, he swore to give up the sweet favors of his housekeeper Otalia for the entire month. She had borne five children-three girls and two boys, all as sturdy and promising as Father Basilio's cacao trees. She had wrapped them in cambric and lace and carried them to the baptismal font, where the priest became their godfather. He could not adopt them but, in Christian charity, he let them have his family name--Cerqueira, a fine and honorable name.

Indeed, how could St. George remain indifferent to such affliction here in his own land, the land whose destiny he had been directing, for good or ill, since early colonial days? As a token of friendship, the king of Portugal had given the region, with its savages and brazilwood trees, to one Jorge de Figueiredo Correia. This gentleman, however, preferred the pleasures of the court at Lisbon to the hardships of the wilderness. In his stead he sent his Spanish brother-in-law, who, at his suggestion, placed the region under the protection of the donee's namesake, St. George . . .

Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon. Copyright © by Jorge Amado. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2007

    Another masterpiece by Jorge Amado

    Gabriela Clove and Cinnamon is a more than delicious and delightful novel that takes place in the Brazilian town of Ilheus in the mid 1920¿s. The plot centers on the romance between the bar owner Nacib, the Arab, and the graceful Gabriela, a mullato beauty that is willing to work as Nacib´s cook for next to nothing as she is running away from famine. This takes time and place when and where the cacao prosperity is changing every aspect of the political and social lives at Ilheus. I chose this book since I had already read Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, also by Jorge Amado, and absolutely loved it. By no chance was I disappointed. This is just another masterpiece by the late Jorge Amado that I just could not put down until I finished and, besides, made me laugh and feel great all throughout the book. I won¿t give away the plot, but I am telling you, it is one of the finest novels by a Latin-American author that I have ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2004

    Great Book!

    One of the best books I've read in a long time. Superbly written with a wonderful story and a great cast of characters. Amado shows the beauty of an old countryside and the mysticism and power of cooking.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2000

    Incredibly good read

    I studied for a semester in Costa Rica and was required to read this book for one of my classes (in English). It is a wonderful book, full of great insights into the Brazilian psyche and culture. And as an added bonus it is extremely humorous but in a very subtle, tongue-in-cheek way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

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