Non solo un tributo alla terra brasiliana, alla sua anima carioca, festosa e vitale, ma anche alla passionalit , alla vitalit , alla sensualit che caratterizza quei luoghi e alle sue mille sfaccettature, ai volti dei vari personaggi che fanno da corollario a questo romanzo.
Un romanzo splendido, che mette voglia di esserci, di fare l a, di pensare che la vita sia davvero meravigliosa Non lo , naturalmente La vita, intendo Ma, dopo averlo letto, per un po lo pensi Scrittura ricca, esuberante, avvolgente, come la natura e la cucina di Bahia E Vadinho lo odi e lo ami E Flor la compatisci e la invidi E Teodoro lo prendi in giro e lo rispetti E, alla fine, dici grazie ad Amado per averti regalato dei bei momenti una buona storia scritta benissimo, un ottimismo immotivato ma che ti fa stare bene comunque, quel rimpianto che cos dolce quando si chiude un libro che hai apprezzato.
It Surprises No One That The Charming But Wayward Vadinho Dos Guimaraes A Gambler Notorious For Never Winning Dies During Carnival His Long Suffering Widow Dona Flor Devotes Herself To Her Cooking School And Her Friends, Who Urge Her To Remarry She Is Soon Drawn To A Kind Pharmacist Who Is Everything Vadinho Was Not, And Is Altogether Happy To Marry Him But After Her Wedding She Finds Herself Dreaming About Her First Husband S Amorous Attentions And One Evening Vadinho Himself Appears By Her Bed, As Lusty As Ever, To Claim His Marital Rights How many stories can you tell in thirteen pages Jorge Amado can we be friends May I call you Jorge put five stories in thirteen pages, four of them untold But even it these four stories were untold, the reader would know what these stories were It is a demonstration of how to tell a story by not telling it.
The main story is that about Maria Batista, or Maria of the Veil, narrated by Porciuncula, a mulatto And despite the limited space, with the words crowding each other in thirteen pages, Maria of the Veil comes alive before your eyes, dies, and breaks your heart Now, I have to stop here because it would be a shame if my review of Jorge s short story, How Porciuncula the Mulatto Got the Corpse Off His Back would be longer than the story itself I read it because I wanted to know how this author sounds when he s not writing funny For this above discussed virtuosity, I m giving him four stars.
For Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands 1966 , the laughter and entertainment I got here were the same as that I had in his much earlier work, Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon 1958 This is something Authors usually do not have encores Especially like here where Gabriela and Dona Flor have the same comic theme and rural setting It s like an in your face repetition of a magic trick yet you get the same amazement you had when you saw it for the first time.
Both were love stories In Gabriela we have that between a cook the mulatto girl Gabriela and her unmarried employer a beautiful man Here, it is a love triangle Vadinho, a rascal and a gambler who is good at nothing except in bed where he is unforgettable Dona Flor, Vadinho s wife, a beauty and an excellent cook like Gabriela who becomes a young widow when Vadinho suddenly drops dead in a carnival while wearing a costume and a fake penis and Dr Teodoro, a pharmacist, well educated, very caring and respectful even in bed Wednesdays and Saturdays only, with a repeat performance every Saturday It was a love triangle because Vadinho, Dona Flor s first love, came back from the dead, a ghost seen only by Dona Flor.
My favorite scene here, where I felt Jorge s romanticism at its height, is the first honeymoon night of Dona Flor and her second husband Dr Teodoro It runs for about nine pages, too long to reproduce here, but when it ended with This was the night in Paripe, with stars and the riding lights of the fishing skiffs I wrote in the available margin underneath Bravo Such was the beauty of Jorge s prose here, but only appropriate for romantics like me For you, hapless readers of this review, you with your lascivious minds, I have a better sampler, one that can satisfy your predilections for naughtiness and likewise display Jorge s comic genius This one also involves a repeat, a recurring character, not exactly the same, but can be described both in Gabriela and Dona Flor as the enchanting temptress at the window.
In Dona Flor her name is Dona Magnolia, girlfriend of a policeman, but she loves all sorts of men One day, she casts her eyes upon the prim and proper Dr Teodoro, Dona Flor s faithful husband, and decides to test her charms on him Here goes the inimitable Jorge Four times a day, at least, as he came and went from his house to the drugstore and vice versa, the splendid forty year old according to Dona Dinora s crystal ball passed beneath her window, where, in a low cut robe, Dona Magnolia rested her insolent breasts, as big and round as they were enticing The students of the Ipiranga Prep School, located on the next street, took to changing their itineraries, unanimously parading in military formation under the window on which rested those breasts that could have suckled them all Dona Magnolia was touched so sweet in their school uniforms, the smaller standing on tiptoe for the joy of seeing, the dream of touching Let them suffer so they will learn, Dona Magnolia reasoned pedagogically, shifting to exhibit still better breasts and bust unfortunately the window frame somewhat limited the rest of her display The schoolboys suffered, the workmen of the vicinity groaned, delivery clerks, young men like Roque, who framed pictures, old men like Alfredo, occupied with his saints People came from far off, from Se, from Jiquitaia, from Itapagipe, from Tororo, from Matatu, making a pilgrimage just to see those celebrated wonders A beggar, at three in the afternoon, sharp, under the hot sun crossed the street Alms for a poor man blind in both eyes The best alms was the divine sight in the window even running the danger of being unmasked, snatching off his black glasses, he opened his eyes wide, feasting the two at the same time, staring at those gifts of God, the property of the police Even if the secret agent should pursue him and throw him into jail on charges of imposture, panhandling, even so he would feel it had been worth while Only Dr Teodoro, cravatted, his white suit stiffly starched, did not raise his eyes to the heaven exposed to view in the window Bowing his head, in a greeting that indicated his good breeding, he raised his hat, to say Good morning and Good afternoon, indifferent to the outburst of breasts which Dona Magnolia had surrounded by lace to heighten the effect, which should have rocked that man of marble back on his heels, undoing that insulting conjugal fidelity Only he, that big dark brute, that handsome dog, undoubtedly with a tool like a table leg, only he went by without showing any sign of impression, delight, ecstasy, without seeing, without even looking at that sea of breasts Ah, that was too much, an insulting offense, an unbearable challenge Monogamous, Dona Dinora had affirmed, conversant with all the details of the doctor s life He was not a person to be unfaithful to his wife he had not even been so with Tavinha Manemolencia, a prostitute, though restricted as to her clientele Dona Magnolia had confidence in her charms My dear fortuneteller, take note, write down what I am saying there is no such thing as a monogamous man, we know that, you and I Look into your crystal ball, and if it is to be trusted, it will reveal to you the doctor in a brothel bed that of Sobrinha, to be exact with your humble servant, Magnolia Fatima das Neves, at her best, beside him So the doctor was not moved by the swooning eyes of his neighbor, by her seductive voice answering her greeting, with her breasts resting on the windowsill, and the desire of the young men growing by day and by night, the drooling of the old men Dona Magnolia had other arms which she could use, and she was taking the offensive at once Thus one sultry afternoon, when the air was heavy with desire, inviting to the delights of bed and lullabies, Dona Magnolia entered the swinging doors of the pharmacy, carrying in her hand a box of injections to be used as a new temptation of St Anthony In a thin summer dress she went lavishing her riches prodigally Doctor, could you give me an injection Dr Teodoro was measuring nitrates in his laboratory, his starched white coat making him look even taller and giving him a kind of scientific dignity With a smile she held out the box of injections Taking it, he put it on the table and said Just a minute Dona Magnolia stood there, sizing him up,pleased every minute What a man, of good age, strong, brave She sighed and he, leaving his powders and prescription, raised his eyes to her You have a pain Ah, Mr Doctor, and she smiled as though to say that her pain was killing her and he was the cause of it An injection He examined the bottle, A vitamin compoundto keep your balancethese new medicines What balance, madame and he smiled politely as though he considered those treatments a waste of time and money It s my nerves, doctor I am so sensitive, you have no idea He picked up a needle with a pair of tweezers, lifting it out of the sterilizer, while he drew the liquid into the syringe, calmly and without haste, one thing at a time, and everything in its place A motto which hung over his worktable summed up his principles A place for everything and everything in its place Dona Magnolia read it she knew about a thing and the place for it, and she eyed the doctor maliciously How sure he was of himself, that big shot He dipped a wad of cotton into alcohol, and raised the syringe Please roll up your sleeve In a voice both coy and malicious, Dona Magnolia answered Not in the arm, doctor, not in the arm He pulled the curtain across She raised her skirt, displaying before the doctor s eyes riches even larger andtempting than those exhibited every day at the window What a backside, like that of a flying ant She did not even feel the prick of the needle, Dr Teodoro had such a light and steady hand The alcohol soaked cotton the doctor rubbed her skin with gave her a pleasant sensation A drop of alcohol ran down her thigh, and she sighed again OnceDr Teodoro mistook the meaning of that gentle moan Where does it hurt you Still holding up the hem of her dress showing haunches nobody had ever been able to resist before, Dona Magnolia looked the distinguished personage straight in the eye Is it possible that you don t understand, that you don t understand anything He really didn t Understand what Now, get hold of this book and find out for yourself what happens next.
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands is a novel about a cooking teacher whose first husband is a charming lowlife, who is always disappearing in search of wine, women, song and roulette, and her second marriage to an upright, responsible, devoted pharmacist who, for all his good qualities, is duller andreserved Especially in bed.
Having read the long and mildly tedious Island Boy, I picked it up in the hope it would be a bitfun It s fiction, it s Brazilian, all the blurbs on the cover go on about it being exotic, sexy, tropical, the work of a great story teller all the kind of joyous clich s you d hope for from the country that gave us Elza Soares, Ronaldinho and the caipirinha I don t only want to read books reinforce national stereotypes, but in a wet London November, a bit of Brazil seems quite tempting.
Andimportantly, it was recommended by a friend So after some of the deeply obscure, hit and miss books I ve read for the read The World challenge, I was hoping for something juicy and enjoyable Something that was not likely to feel like a chore.
Sadly it didn t quite hit the spot Not because it doesn t have all those Brazilian clich s it starts with a character dying unexpectedly during carnival while dancing in full drag, and the whole book is full of gamblers and whores and serenades, and sex and food, and humour and social satire, and a bundle of other things besides Just reading my own description of it almost makes me want to read it again but the actual experience of reading it wasn t so great.
Not that it s a bad book, but it didn t ever quite grab me and after 550 pages, any book that you re not actively enjoying is going to seem like a bit of a chore I d be hard pressed to identify any very glaring problems with it The characters seemed a trifle two dimensional particularly the two contrasting husbands, who might as well be called Id and Superego, or Apollonian and Dionysian and the plot is perhaps stretched a bit thin but it might just as well be that I wasn t in the right mood for it and tried to read too much of it when I was half asleep So while I m not about to give it a glowing endorsement, I wouldn t want to be too negative, either Pathetically non commital, I know.
One of the greatest Brazilian novels, read years ago.
This book Wow where to begin It took me a couple minutes to realize how amazing this was At first when it ended I was a little unsure if I liked it but as it started sink in I realized it has to be one of the finest book I have ever read This enlighten me in the interworking minds of many people I know I feel refreshed and enlighten and ready to continue in my life with a new improved perspective.
Jorge Amado happens to be one of my favourite authors, but I do have a confession to make, I have such a deep affection for Latin American authors, Spanish as well as Portuguese Amado is humorous in a ribald sort of way but what is most important about him, is that he is completely non judgemental.
I read Dona Flor e seus Dois Maridos as an English translation and found it beautiful The original Portuguese, however, is pretty much different, it deals with manyaspects of Brazilian Culture that the English translation does not, but both are very good Coming back to the essence of the book, we all have two sides to our selves, and Dona Flor is no exception As a young girl she marries Vadinho, the love of her life Vadinho proves to be a wastrel, a bom viv o,who loves to gamble, whores around, for him the most important event is Carnaval And then, much as Vadinho would have desired, he just drops down dead in the midst of the Carnaval festivities Dona Flor is relieved, Dona Rozilda ecstatic although everyone hated Dona Rozilda, Dona Flor s mother, I loved her venomous tongue her Brazilian Insults had me in splits Slowly, Dona Flor builds her business she cooks and gives cooking lessons Amado just loves Bahia, its food and most important azeite de dend Time moves on, Dona Flor is very secure financially, but something is missing, her students notice that she is not as alegre as she used to be earlier What could be missing in her life, money That she has Respect No chance everyone respects the pretty young widow Just when she cannot bear this inner turmoil any longer she realises that the missing ingredient in her life is.
Sex Oh how she misses her sexual dalliances with Vadinho She now realises that those happy, fulfilling romps in bed are a thing of the past Then her despair turns to joy, when the very staid and correct Teodoro proposes marriage to her It is a meeting of minds and souls Teodoro is a man with his own business, a cultured gentleman who loves classical music, has his own quartet Could Dona Flor ask forOf course not, Teodoro is every woman s dream strong, reliable, dependable, any woman could entrust her future and life in Teodoro s capable hands, a far cry from Vadinho Or is he Teodoro is a man of extremely regular habits everything has its time and place and that includes sex How can you have sex at prescribed, regular times sighs Dona Flor Sex so regular and predictable that Dona Flor wants to scream and tear her hair in despair Vadinho, O meu Vadinho, how she yearns for the much maligned Vadinho We feel the turmoil in Dona Flor s life Here is Teodoro who loves her, treats her with respect, never deprives her of her hard earned money on the other hand we have Vadinho who only has his sexual expertise How Dona Flor pines for Vadinho, her body cries out to him and in that yearning Goddess Yemanja comes to her aid Yemanja with her magical powers brings back Vadinho and well.
you can only imagine how happy Dona Flor is, the romps are back and they are just as good as before Vadinho died.
The book has many facets to it the central one of course being Dona Flor s physical needs, her sexual cravings Ironically both Vadinho and Teodoro save her from depravity We could take a look at our darker inner selves, if of course we would be willing to admit to having one Jorge Amado, also shows us what it is to be a gambler, the hunger, the despair, the win are interwoven in this book, incidentally it is not pleasant to win all of the time, it takes away the edge of the game Amazing how this book leads us into so very many unexplored avenues, forcing us to think without prejudiceVadinho sums the book when he as a ghost says, Tambem do meu amor precisas para ser feliz, desse amor de impurezas, errado e torto, devasso ardente, que faz sofrer
Jorge Amado found with this novel a fun kneading dough between her expert hands His writing comical, funny, spiritual and incomparable emotional intelligence, enabling it to exploit parallel universes and controversial topics.
And addresses topics with such masterly playing with the history, customs of an era and beliefs of a society undergoing political and cultural effervescence.
Tolerance as a way of life, good humor as a solution to daily hassles, nonchalance as an escape fromserious problems, it is the portrait of a people and a unique philosophy of life in the world Furiously burlesque and comical Rating five enchanted stars of fiveSo, as I ve explained on my profile over at LibraryThing, I ve been in a book circle in RL for 17 years, and I posted our group reading list with my one line assessments of the books Most of those books I read long long long before I knew about LT or GoodReads, and so I ve either never reviewed them or reviewed them for the long vanished book blog.
Whatthehell, I figured, I should go back and glance over the list, maybe write some reviews of those oldsters.
So that s what I m a gonna do.
BkC1 DONA FLOR AND HER TWO HUSBANDS by Jorge Amado Adored it Ghosts get horny, too, and why not I stand by the one liner It s a wonderful book, so it deserves a real appreciation.
The Book Report Flor and Vadinho are as happy as two opposites can be in a marriage Their relationship doesn t make sense to any of Flor s stuffy, social climbing family really, whose relationship makes sense to the family , as Vadinho spends and cheats and generally makes a spectacle of himself in dreary 1940s Bahia provincial Brazilian city, think Balti or Philadelphia Especially the day he drops dead in a Carnival street dance.
Flor grieves for him, but life goes on, and the aforementioned stuffy family won t tolerate a single woman in her prime to be left in peace So Flor marries Babbitt Oh dear, I mean Teodoro which is Brazilian for Babbitt He s not a lot of fun, but he s thoughtful, and gentle, and considerate of her feelings, and a BIG FAT BORE especially in bed Flor settles in for a life of having settled So many people of both genders and all persuasions can relate to this.
ThenthenVadinho s horny ghost shows up Moral crisis Is it cheating on your husband to sleep with your dead husband Is this a serious question To Flor it is, and to be frank, I was so bought in at that point that I took it seriously too.
My Review Written in 1966, this novel felt as fresh as yesterday to me when I read it in the 1990s It is subtle and grotesque and sly and, in the end, it s the way a real person is Conflicted Is the story in Flor s mind, a desperately bored woman s attempt to recapture some small sense of joy in life, or is Vadinho real I don t exactly know, even yet But you know what Don t matter one little speck I believe Flor She woould never lie to me.
Amado was that good Recommended, ESPECIALLY for married people of all persuasions.