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Jorge Amado, Author, Gregory Rabassa, Translator Bantam Books $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-05174-2
Brazilian writer Amado's 22nd novel is an unfocused and somewhat maudlin epic set in the lawless wilds of the Bahian jungle, where thugs and prostitutes ply their dismal trades amidst arbitrary bloodshed and hardship. Despite the many dangers posed by men and nature, fertile land is free for the taking, and hard work soon brings prosperity to a forlorn outpost of misfits. As the town grows, its inhabitants, too, are transformed: a whore becomes a midwife, a bandit turns into a cacao-plantation owner. The savage gives way to the domestic as children are born and wells are dug. This is the American dream come to life in a tropical rain forest, with all the facile sentimentality of a Disney creation. An incorrigible storyteller, Amado creates a vast and colorful cast of characters, most of them likable, all of them exotic. Yet, while much happens in this bookcrammed as it is with battles, love affairs and natural disastersin the long run, nothing happens. With no plot or unifying thread, Amado's wordy prose and run-on sentences create little more than a busy patchwork that lacks pattern and direction. Literary Guild alternate.(February)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-1556-5
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-553-34666-4
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