Friday, June 10, 2011


By Jorge Amado

You may have thought that chocolate comes from little elves in pointy caps who dance around as they pour giant (relatively speaking) vats of gooey fudge on tasty cookies. Well you’re WRONG! Actually chocolate grows on trees, unlike money, unless you are a chocolate farmer when prices are up in which case money does kind of grow on trees.

Anyway, Jorge Amado was from south Bahia, a state in Brazil, where the cacao (ka-kow) nuts grow. Instead of gold rushes they had cacao rushes back in the 1910s. It was a tough land, and ruthless cacao-barons would send their cacaoboys out to claim choice bits of jungle and hold it with guns and machetes against all comers. 

Amado tells of the rivalry of two families over a strip of jungle and the people around them: wives, sisters, hired guns, lawyers, and a con man from Rio. This is a colorful book about a colorful place and time. If you want to read a Western with all the adventure, triumph, tragedy, and wonder of the West, without the cliches, this is a good one to take in.
-Dave Hardy

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