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(05/07/2008) Home Is The Sailor by Jorge Amado. New York. 1964. Knopf. Translated from the Portuguese by Harriet De Onis. keywords: Literature Translated Brazil Latin America. 301 pages. Typography, binding, and jacket design by Warren Chappell. March 1964.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   GOOD-NATURED, incompetent, friendly, and lustful-at sixty the crony of college students and high-living officials-Vasco Moscoso de Aragao laments that his life as the son of a wealthy merchant has brought him no rank, degree, or title. So-though Vasco has never made a sea voyage-a friend gets him a license as a ship's captain. Moving to Periperi in the suburbs of Bahia, he takes up with relish the life of an honored, retired old sea dog surrounded by nautical instruments, sea-going uniforms, and listeners eager for his reminiscences' of the oceans and exotic lands that he has visited. Vasco is so endlessly and colorfully inventive that only a few of his canniest neighbors begin to suspect the truth. When the northbound good ship Ita comes into Bahia with her captain dead, Vasco-the only licensed captain in the area-is dragooned into completing the voyage up the coast to Belem as master (with the understanding that he will be free to call on the first mate for all important decisions). On the voyage. Vasco enjoys himself, whiling away the time in social activities and in pursuing a lady passenger of forty, to whom he becomes engaged. But deceiving sailors turns out not to be so easy as dazzling landlubbers, and what happens then and thereafter is almost (but not quite) beyond belief. Written with the narrative grace, humor, ribaldry, compassion, tenderness, and constant inventiveness of Jorge Amado's popular GABRIELA, CLOVE AND CINNAMON, HOME IS THE SAILOR likewise rests (with Amado's thistledown touch) on a kind of philosophical or metaphysical background. 'What is truth, what reality?'-the book asks that eternal question, not ponderously, but as inherent in a triumph of the story-telling art.

 

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