The War of the Saints

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Bantam Books, 1993 - Fiction - 357 pages
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The internationally acclaimed author of Showdown and Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, Jorge Amado has been hailed as Brazil's foremost novelist and one of the great writers of our time. Now, in The War of the Saints, he invites us into an exuberant and extraordinary tale in which freedom rises in the face of fear, love triumphs over a reign of terror and the mundane turns mystical in the blink of a beautiful woman's eye. The statue of Saint Barbara of the Thunder, most holy of icons, is bound for the city of Bahia to be enshrined at the Museum of Sacred Art. Despite all precautions, however, the unthinkable has happened: The lovely statue has vanished. His reputation on the line, the curator of the exhibit cries foul. But the truth is that the image has not been stolen. As the boat that was to deliver her reached port, the image was transformed into a living, breathing woman. At the dock the awakened Saint Barbara stepped into the milling crowd on the quay and disappeared into the city. Like Saint Barbara herself, the festival comes to life in the streets of Bahia. Amid the cinnamon and tobacco, amid the sound of singing and berimbau drums, rumors fly, scandals erupt, intrigues swirl, and passions burn hotly... In another part of the city a young girl named Manela suffers at the hands of her pious aunt Adalgisa, a woman willing to crack her niece's skull to save her soul. Manela has slipped away from her repressive aunt to spend a few hours with the handsome Miro. But a glorious afternoon of feasting, drinking, and dancing at a religious festival that winds through the sunny streets of Bahia instantly turns sour when Aunt Adalgisa catches Manela red-handed. She locks up Manela in theCloister of the Penitents, there to languish. But as Saint Barbara's magical influence begins to cast its spell over the city, no one's life will remain unchanged. Jorge Amado's prodigious gifts as a storyteller, the richness of his detail, and the sheer force of his language combine in a narrative as seductive and enchanting as Saint Barbara herself- a novel that is at once a sensual adventure and a comic masterpiece. Skillfully weaving together the lives of his characters with insight into the nature of love and religion, Amado demonstrates, with charm and compassion, that his ultimate cause is humanity.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Amado dips back into his encyclopedic knowledge of the local politics, religions, and sexual joie de vivre of his beloved Bahia in this tale of Catholicism subverted by spiritualism, of puritanism ... Read full review

The war of the saints

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

An exploration of attraction, love, marriage, and relationships, this skillful blend of the concrete and the mystical results in an unexpected novel. Manela lives with her Aunt Adalgisa and her Uncle ... Read full review


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About the author (1993)

Jorge Amado, August 10, 1912 - August 6, 2001 Elected to the Brazilian Academy of Letters, Jorge Amado possesses a talent for storytelling as well as a deep concern for social and economic justice. He was born in Bahia, Brazil, in 1912. Some critics claim that his early works suffer from his politics. Others commonly express reservations concerning Amado's sentimentality and erotico-mythic stereotyping. In the works represented in English translation, his literary merits prevail. The Violent Land (1942) chronicles the development of Brazilian territory and struggles for its resources, memorializing the deeds of those who built the country. Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon (1958), which achieved critical and popular success in both Brazil and the United States, tells a sensual love story of a Syrian bar owner and his beautiful cook. Home Is the Sailor (1962) introduces Captain Vasco Moscoso de Aragao, a comic figure in the tradition of Don Quixote. In Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (1966), Amado introduced the folk culture of shamans and Yorube gods. The protagonists of Shepherds of the Night (1964) are Bahia's poor.

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