Gabriela: Clove and Cinnamon – Jorge Amado

Gabriela Cloves and Cinnamon

I bought this book in a secondhand store in Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil. It took a while to get around to reading it and in the meantime I carried it with me on trips to Ghana, Australia and Bali. (This partly explains the ragged state of the cover by now – apologies to the new owner!). Can’t imagine why I didn’t start reading it faster because it is a fantastic book (worth reading over again). I think the imagery in Amado’s Dona Flor and her Two Husbands is probably better but this book also deals with Amado’s home region in Brazil and is fantastic for giving a sense of place. Perhaps it is that Dona Flor is, despite her attractions, a fallible human-being while Gabriela comes across as something of the simplicity of a living saint (albeit in a ‘bad girl’ sort of way).

Anyway, great book and I am now hunting down more of Amado’s work.

I left this book on the terrace at Cafe Iruña (Pamplona, Spain). Iruña was one of Hemingway’s favourite hangouts so Amado was left in excellent company…and even Papa, I am sure, would not have felt insulted with such good company.

Look forward to hearing where this book goes next.


Kitbaggers book project – travel literature on speed.

Have you ever handled a classic paperback and wondered where it’s been and whose hands it passed through? Do you love the well-handled look of a book that’s obviously seen decades of serious mileage through places you might only have imagined?

This project was conceived long ago through a conversation (in San Jose, Costa Rica) between a group of friends who’d wondered about these same things and thought it would be interesting to try to trace the history of just a few random books that we read on the road.

 More than just a review – this is also the story of a single adventurous copy that’s probably still out there touring the world somewhere. Let us know if you find it.

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