Bobby's Reviews > Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon

Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon by Jorge Amado
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Aug 03, 08

bookshelves: reviewed
Read in August, 2008

Written by the Brazilian author Jorge Amado in 1950's, the story takes place in the Bahia region of Brazil. The time is 1920's and the town of Ilheus is on the verge of transformation thanks to it's burgeoning cacao trade. The two main plots of the story consist of the politics of power (the older cacao plantation owners trying to retain power in the face of new, younger outsiders who would like to modernize Ilheus quickly) and the love story between two major character, Nacib and Gabriela. Amado is a great story teller, on par with Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Hemingway in my opinion. Despite a multitude of characters (initially a bit difficult to keep track), he's infused each one with his/her own unique personality and does an excellent job of drawing the reader in. I found Gabriela especially to be one of the most memorable female characters ever...her passion and joie de vivre made me wish she were real and were in my circle of friends! Despite the politics, the book remains lighthearted and even comedic in nature, and reads rather fast despite it's size (~500 pages). Definitely recommended for those who enjoy historical fiction, folk literature, and books about a time/place far removed from the sedate 9-to-5 existence of 21st century USA.
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