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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jorge Amado's best
I lived in Brazil for several years and fell in love with Brazilian author Jorge Amado. "Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon" received some notoriety in the U.S. in the 50s or 60s, although Amado hasn't made much of a splash here since then. But his books are wonderful and shouldn't be missed. Apparently Amado was the son of cacao plantation owners, but when he...
Published on December 28, 1997 by C. J. Peiffer

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Synopsis for Hundreds of Pages
I like reading. I like reading books that most consider boring. This book though...

The last 10% (no spoilers) departs completely from the first 90%, and as dreadful as that last 10% was, at least it did not have the problem that the rest of the book suffered from:

Synopsis. Hundreds and hundreds of pages of synopsis. There are few scenes in this...
Published 5 months ago by Archgeneral


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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jorge Amado's best, December 28, 1997
By 
C. J. Peiffer (Pennsylvania, USA) - See all my reviews
I lived in Brazil for several years and fell in love with Brazilian author Jorge Amado. "Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon" received some notoriety in the U.S. in the 50s or 60s, although Amado hasn't made much of a splash here since then. But his books are wonderful and shouldn't be missed. Apparently Amado was the son of cacao plantation owners, but when he wrote his first works in the 20s exposing land owners for their cruelty to workers, he was more or less disowned. I've read about a dozen of his works. Although each is very different, they seem to have recurring themes. Most take place in Brazil's underdeveloped Northeast, in Bahia or Sergipe. Women are often the heroines. Perhaps in further rebellion against his family, most of his characters are on the seamy side of society ---drunks, prostitutes, street people, con artists. Much of his work includes themes of death although not morbidly so. All are spiced with the superstitions, spells, and magic typical of folk religions that have their roots in the pagan beliefs of Africa transported to Brazil by slaves. "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands" attracted some attention when the movie version appeared in the U.S. The Brazilian film, starring Sonia Braga, is one of my all-time favorites. It is funny, melancholy, romantic, and erotic ---but the novel is all that and much more. The story takes place in the 1940s. Flor, who runs a small cooking school in her home in Salvador, is married to Vadinho, who gambles, whores around, takes Flor's money, slaps her around, and is a master con artist who can charm even the padre. His only redeeming quality is that he is great in bed, tapping into Flor's deepest desires. But during one riotous night of Carnaval frivolity, Vadinho drops dead. After a suitable period of mourning, Flor is pursued by Teodoro, a pharmacist who is everything Vadinho was not. Teodoro has a steady job, is responsible and respectable. Only on their wedding night does Flor discover one other way he differs from Vadinho ---he's a dud at making love. Flor, a passionate woman, appeals to the gods for help and eventually figures out how to enjoy both of her husbands. Although the film version does not play up the importance of the gods, the middle of the novel is almost like a Greek play with the gods using humans to resolve their own conflicts. A little background about Brazilian Spiritism will help one understand the gods and their significance. African slaves in Brazil were told they must become Christian or be killed. They, of course, agreed to become Christians, giving their African gods the names of Saints with similar powers or characteristics. Eventually the two religions became intertwined. Many Brazilians worship at Catholic mass and attend ceremonies of Spiritism, Macumba, and Condomble paying homage to African gods and goddesses relying on spirits to help them solve everyday problems. Amado's books are filled with colorful details that enhance the accurate picture he paints of the Brazilian culture. He is wordy, but beautifully so. He won't appeal to someone interested in a fast read, but for those who love a good story, spiced with exotic details, unusual characters, comedy, emotion, and raw passion, "Dona Flor" is a gem, in my opinion the best of Amado's many novels. Other good options are "Gabriela Clove and Cinnamon", "Tieta Home from the Wars", "Sea of Death", and "The Two Deaths of Quincas Wateryell".
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A big, lusty novel of Brazilian life, July 20, 2001
"Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands," by Jorge Amado, is a richly entertaining novel. The book has been translated into English by Harriet de Onis. "Dona Flor" tells the story of the title character, a cooking instructor who is widowed and who eventually contemplates remarriage.
"Dona Flor" is a big, sensuous, lusty novel that colorfully evokes the food, music, dance, sexual mores, ethnic diversity, and religious diversity of Brazil. Amado creates a huge tapestry of fascinating characters: the admirable Dona Flor; Vadinho, her roguish first husband; Dona Rozilda, her meddling mother; the gossipy Dona Dinora; gambling czar Pelancchi Moulas; and more.
Amado enlivens the novel with many delightful touches. He sprinkles Brazilian recipes into the text, and also offers insights into Candomble, an Afro-Brazilian folk religion with a colorful pantheon of deities.
"Dona Flor" is full of funny, romantic, and sexy scenes. The novel's plot also has an important magical/supernatural element. I highly recommend this novel, especially to those who are interested in Brazilian literature.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Amado, March 26, 2005
By 
I lived in Brazil for several years and fell in love with Jorge Amado, a Brazilian author few Americans have heard of, although his novels have been translated into a zillion languages. Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon received some notoriety in the U.S. in the 50s or 60s, although Amado's works have not made much of a splash here since then. But his books are wonderful and shouldn't be missed.

Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands attracted some attention when the movie version appeared in the U.S. with English subtitles. The Brazilian film, starring Sonia Braga, is one of my all-time favorites. It is funny, melancholy, romantic, and erotic ---but the novel is all that and much more.

The story takes place in the 1940s. Flor, who runs a cooking school in her home in Salvador, is married to Vadinho, who gambles his wife's money, slaps her around, frequents brothels, and is a master con artist who can charm even the local padre. His only redeeming quality is that he knows exactly how to tap into Flor's deepest sexual desires. But during one riotous night of Carnaval frivolity, Vadinho drops dead.

After a suitable period of mourning, Flor is pursued by Teodoro, a pharmacist who is everything Vadinho was not. Teodoro has a steady job, is responsible, honest, and respectable, and is careful with money. Only on their wedding night does Flor discover one other way he differs from Vadinho ---he's a dud at making love. Flor, a passionate woman, appeals to the gods for help and eventually figures out how to enjoy both of her husbands.

Apparently Amado was the son of cacao plantation owners, but when he wrote his first works in the 20s, exposing land owners for their cruelty to workers, he was more or less disowned.

I've read about a dozen of his works. Although each is very different, they have recurring themes. Most take place in Brazil's underdeveloped Northeast, in Bahia or Sergipe (where I lived in the late 60s). Women are often the heroines. Perhaps in further rebellion against his family, most of his characters are on the seamy side of society ---drunks, prostitutes, street people, con artists. Much of his work includes themes of death, although not morbidly so. All are spiced with the superstitions, spells, and magic typical of folk religions that have their roots in the pagan beliefs of Africa, transported to Brazil by slaves.

Amado's books are filled with colorful details that enhance the accurate picture he paints of the Brazilian culture. He is wordy, but beautifully so. He won't appeal to someone interested in a fast read, but for those who love a good story, spiced with exotic details, unusual characters, comedy, emotion, and raw passion, Dona Flor is a gem, in my opinion the best of Amado's many novels. Other good options are Gabriela Clove and Cinnamon, Tieta Home from the Wars, Sea of Death, and The Two Deaths of Quincas Wateryell.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One lucky woman gets satisfied on both sides of the sheets, October 28, 1997
By A Customer
Not many women know what they want and what they need -they're often two different things. But Dona Flor explores love and marriage to two different men at the same time. Once married to a rascal who dies of heart failure during a fiesta, Flor eventually settles for a stable second hubby, a pharmacist who somehow fails to make chemistry work on the matrimonial sheets. Readers will have great fun discovering with Flor what happens when love (and lust) actually live on after death.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, February 27, 2005
By 
Claus Hetting (Gentofte, Copenhagen Denmark) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
It is possible - probable, even - that had Jorge Amado not refused his candidature for the Nobel Prize in literature, he would have won it hands down. But that statement alone does not adequately account for his qualities, since many a Nobel laureate has churned out books that are hard work to read and often coolly intellectual. Jorge Amado is the exact antithesis of all that, and Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands shows the full span of Amado's remarkable mind. He is a story teller of the highest possible caliber with an imagination that bubbles over with delightful tales and a cast of characters of which you just can't get enough. I was sad to come to the last page of this book, and I am surely to read this superb novel again.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars love and life in Brazil, February 23, 2005
Dona Flor's irresponsible, passionate gambler of a husband (Vadinho) suddenly dies while dressed as a woman during Carnival festivities. After a period of mourning, Flor finds what seems like the perfect husband in the pharmacist Teodoro - kind, loving, intelligent, organized and respectful. While her life becames calm and happy, she finds that she misses the spark and the love that Vadinho provided. When Vadinho suddenly returns from the dead, intent on seducing Flor, she must decide between her loyalty to her second husband and her attraction to her first.

At times funny, bawdy, sexy, and beautiful, this book is a good example of magical realism. Written in the 1960s, it is also far ahead of its time in its portrayal of female sexual desire and patriarchal traditions. It also provides an interesting portrait of middle-class Bahian life.

At times, it was slow moving, especially in the beginning. The second husband isn't introduced until well into the second half of the book and some parts seemed overly drawn out. At times, the translation felt a bit rough.

A unique book that calls upon the supernatural, but deals with issues grounded in human reality. Worth a read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun introduction to anyone interested in Brazil or S. Amer, July 3, 1997
By A Customer
Dona Flor is an amusing and clever representation of Brazilian society. The characters are lively and fun, even if they are a little bit eccentric. There is more than a hint of authentic Brazilian culture peppered throughout the story from the overbearing mother-in-law to the priest of candomble (voodoo). One can't help but empathize with Flor as she struggles to choose between two vastly different husbands.

Flor's two husbands seem to represent the dichotomies that existed as Brazil was beginning its transformation from a post-colonial state to the modern, vibrant country it is today. The elements of what is deemed "proper" and what is simply spontaneous fun had (and have) to co-exist during this transformation, but it wasn't always a peaceful existence. One side's attempt to overcome the other as well as their ability to exist side by side is represented in Dona Flor's struggle to come to terms with the wild abandon she feels when she's with one husband, and the feelings of security and tranquility she feels when she's with the other. Her solution to the whole situation is also (refreshingly) Brazilian.
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brazilian Dickens?, September 4, 2001
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If Charles Dickens had been Brazilian, then he may have written "Dona Flor." Of course, I mean the Dickens of "Pickwick" rather than "Bleak House." Amado's lovingly imagined tale of an extraordinary woman's unlikely path to happiness has been read and enjoyed by generations of readers, and with good reason. It is a vast panorama of life in the town of Salvador de Bahia, with dozens of classic characters and a circuitous plot, all delivered with humour and panache. A hedonist's delight, "Dona Flor" is a celebration of love, sex, food, music, gambling and everything else that can make a person happy. Check your disbelief and social concerns at the door, sit back and enjoy Jorge Amado's feast for the senses.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Synopsis for Hundreds of Pages, July 17, 2014
This review is from: Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (Paperback)
I like reading. I like reading books that most consider boring. This book though...

The last 10% (no spoilers) departs completely from the first 90%, and as dreadful as that last 10% was, at least it did not have the problem that the rest of the book suffered from:

Synopsis. Hundreds and hundreds of pages of synopsis. There are few scenes in this book. Amado apparently finds it better to write a hundred pages of description that verges on, but rarely actually morphs into, scenes. Remember the walking in Lord of the Rings? Replace that with busybodies and take out the good parts.

To be fair, the few times Amado does sit down to write a good scene, it is great. The problem is that you can skim fifty pages of synopsis and be no farther along in the plot.

Others enjoy it though, and you might, but it is not for me. In fact, I recommend that you spend your time reading any number of far superior and far more interesting novels.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A joyful read - infinitely better than the movie!, December 16, 2006
This review is from: Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (Paperback)
I read Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands some 20 years ago, and it impressed me so much and stayed with me that I just bought a copy as a Birthday present for my brother, a Medieval English professor. I still have my own copy for re-reading (as well as many other novels by Jorge Amado). If you've only seen the movie, you don't know what you've missed.

Jorge Amado is within the realm of Latin American 'magical realism'. Dona Flor's husband dies, she remarries, but her husband returns as a 'ghost' only she can see. His commentary to and about his (ex-) mother-in-law, while in her presence though she (the mother-in-law) cannot see or hear him (but Dona Flor can) are hilarious. It's perhaps what many men (and women) might wish for.
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Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands by Jorge Amado (Paperback - September 12, 2006)
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