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Reader's Den: "Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon" is “Innocent yet knowing, unquenchable and enticing…”

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Read what Juan de Onis writes about Gabriela in 1962 for the American publication of Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon:

“…an exciting and enjoyable romp of a book, rich in literary delights […] For Americans, ‘Gabriela’ has additional significance, as a striking portrait of Brazilian reality and change, it may serve to bridge the ‘gap of understanding’ between two culturally and psychologically distinct areas of the New World.” — New York Times Book Review 

"'Bahiana' in tipical dress." Picture Collection, NYPL.

Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon is set in the Bahia Region of Eastern Brazil. The author, Jorge Amado (1912-2001), grew up working the cacao groves of the region and became intimate with the plight of the working class. A supporter of the Communist Party, Amado's early career as a journalist and author focused on championing the rights of the under classes, and he was both jailed and briefly exiled for his political views.

The publication of Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon in 1958 was a departure from his earlier writing style — less politically motivated and more robust with well-developed characters. The book won him popularity both in Brazil and around the world. He is distinguished as one of the most prominent 20th century Brazilian writers, and continues to enjoy a celebrated status in the region of Bahia, as well as being translated into more than 50 languages. For further biographical information and book reviews, visit NYPL’s Electronic Resources for databases such as Literature Resource Center and The New York Times (1851-2005).

I hope you are enjoying the book! Join the Reader's Den next week for additional discussion questions on Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon.

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