Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon

by Jorge Amado
Translated by James L. Taylor and William Grossman
Published by Random House | Vintage (1974)
ISBN 978-0307276650

Ilhéus in 1925 is a booming town with a record cacao crop and aspirations for progress, but the traditional ways prevail. When Colonel Mendonça discovers his wife in bed with a lover, he shoots and kills them both. Political contests, too, can be settled by gunshot…

No one imagines that a bedraggled migrant worker who turns up in town–least of all Gabriela herself–will be the agent of change. Nacib Saad has just lost the cook at his popular café and in desperation hires Gabriela. To his surprise she turns out to be a great beauty as well as a wonderful cook and an enchanting boon to his business. But what would people say if Nacib were to marry her?

Lusty, satirical and full of intrigue, Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon is a vastly entertaining panorama of small town Brazilian life.

About the Author:

Jorge Amado—novelist, journalist, lawyer—was born in 1912, the son of a cacao planter, in Ilheus. His first novel, Cacao, was published when he was nineteen and was an impassioned plea for social justice for the workers on Bahian plantations. His novels of the 30s and 40s would continue to dramatize class struggle. Not until the 1950s did he write his great literary comic novels which take aim at the full spectrum of society even as they pay tribute to the region of his birth. One of the most renowned writers of Latin American, 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.