Gabriela Clove and Cinnamon Author:Jorge Amado 1001 books Everyone Must Read Before You Die — In 1925-26, Ilheus was booming. There was a record cacao crop, but because of a sandbar in the harbor, shipments could not be made direct but had to clear through and pay tribute to the larger port to the north, Bahia. The controversy over the removal of this sandbar is one of the threads that runs t... more »hrough the story and gives you a wonderful picture of politics in a provincial Brazilian city. And then, too, it was the year that Colonel Mendonca lived up to the inviolable unwritten law and shot his wife and her lover when he caught them in flagrante delicto. But above all, it was the year that Gabriala moved in from the backlands, one of a flock of dirty, bedraggled migrant workers - what what a girl she turned out to be.
Nacib, the Arab owner of the most popular cafe-restuarant in town, was in really serious trouble - he had lost his cook. Gabriela proved to be a superb cook and, once scrubbed and decently clothed, a great beauty as well. Nacib's business boomed and, fat and foolish though he was, he found himself the happy possessor of a mistress who loved him and who soon became the most sought after woman in the town.
In this skillfully plotted novel there is a lusty and often humorous echo of the sly political machinations that control the life of every town, and the story crackles with intrigue as progress threatens the entrenched landowners and their hired assassins just as it threatens the town's social and sexual mores. And Gabreiela moves serenely through it all. She wields her increasing power to enchant until that age-old prerogative heretofore exercised by the cuckolded is no longer de rigueur or even legal.« less