As many of you know, the Voyage Out is a regional book group. This means we pick groups of books, usually three to a group, and read them one after the other. Last meeting we chose a new region: Latin American Literature. We chose our first book: Roberto Bolano’s By Night in Chile. We will choose our next two books at this month’s meeting. Throughout the month, I will be highlighting possible choices. If you want to highlight something, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or just write your thoughts in the comments section.
At this month’s meeting we will be discussing the third book in our Contemporary Female Novelists of England. The book is Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body. The meeting will be May 26th at 5pm. All are welcome!
The Violent Land
Note: This is a new edition that will release on June 25th, 2013
Jorge Amado, (born Aug. 10, 1912, Ferradas, near Ilhéus, Braz.—died Aug. 6, 2001, Salvador), novelist whose stories of life in the eastern Brazilian state of Bahia won international acclaim.
Amado grew up on a cacao plantation, Auricídia, and was educated at the Jesuit college in Salvador and studied law at Federal University in Rio de Janeiro. He published his first novel at age 19. Three of his early works deal with the cacao plantations, emphasizing the exploitation and the misery of the migrant blacks, mulattoes, and poor whites who harvest the crop and generally expressing communist solutions to social problems. The best of these works, Terras do sem fim (1942; The Violent Land), about the struggle of rival planters, has the primitive grandeur of a folk saga.
Amado became a journalist in 1930, and his literary career paralleled a career in radical politics that won him election to the Constituent Assembly as a federal deputy representing the Communist Party of Brazil in 1946. He was imprisoned as early as 1935 and periodically exiled for his leftist activities, and many of his books were banned in Brazil and Portugal. He continued to produce novels with facility, most of them picaresque, ribald tales of Bahian city life, especially that of the racially conglomerate lower classes. Gabriela, cravo e canela (1958; Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon) and Dona Flor e seus dois maridos (1966; Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands; film, 1978) both preserve Amado’s political attitude in their satire. His later works include Tenda dos milagres (1969; Tent of Miracles), Tiêta do agreste (1977; Tieta, the Goat Girl), Tocaia grande (1984; Show Down), and O sumiço da santa (1993; The War of the Saints). Amado published his memoirs, Navegaçãu de cabotagem (“Coastal Navigation”), in 1992.
About the Book:
Originally published in Portuguese in 1943 as Terras do sem fim by Livraria Martins Editoria, Brazil. In this short novel, the aristocratic Badaros family is pitted against the middle-class planter Colonel Horacio Silveira in a struggle to obtain a crucial piece of land for the growing of cacao. Amado’s true subject—and one he frequently comes back to—is the effect of the Bahia region’s vast cacao plantations on the local citizens and the communities in which they live.
Review that interested me:
Brazil — and the bloody beginnings of the cacao plantations –days when the land was fertilized with the blood of men that died so that other men might win the right to seize lands that were to be stripped of their forests and planted in the trees that bore fruit of gold. There was Horacio, who would let nothing stand in his way; his one weakness his wife, Ester, and who believed in her until after her death when he found she had slept with an attorney, Virgilio — and then Virgilio must die. There were the Badaro brothers, who claimed the identical land Horacio lusted for, and who hired a card sharper, Capt. Joao, to make a fake survey of the land, and file claim. And a women was Joao’s weakness, too, for he loved Don’ Ana. Then there was Margot, prostitute who had financed Virgilio, and who left him when he took on Ester. No central theme as in an American story of a frontier. A novel of the soil — as “”the violent land”” achieved status.