Jorge Amado didn't write books, he wrote a country. – Mia Couto, Mozambican author.
Jorge Amado died in 2011.
Had he lived, he would have been 100 years old on the 10th of August.
In his lifetime, he wrote more than 30 books, saw them translated into 49 languages, had them published in 55 countries.
This year, to celebrate the centenary of his birth, there are events taking place throughout Brazil and also in cities like London, Paris, Salamanca and Lisbon.
Copies of his books can be found in virtually every public library, of any size, anywhere in the world.
Look for the closest one to you here, in the World Library Catalog:
He tells great stories.
So, if you haven’t read him, and you have any interest whatsoever in Brazil, I suggest you get cracking.
You might start with Dona Flor and her two husbands.
Bruno Barreto, made a film out of that one back in 1976.
And it remained the most-successful Brazilian feature of all time, until its box-office receipts were finally surpassed (by Elite Troop 2) 35 years later.
Or you might try Gabriela, clove and cinnamon.
The film version was shot back in 1983 and featured Marcello Mastroianni and Sônia Braga.
And there’s a TV version of it running in Brazil at this very moment.
No other author, living or dead, has ever captured the essence of the Brazilian soul better than Jorge Amado.
And few have come close.
He’s not the one that professors of Luso-Brazilian literature most commonly recommend to their students.
Those roles are reserved for authors like Clarice Lispector, considered more “literary” in her output.
Nor is Jorge the Brazilian best-selling author of all time.
That distinction is reserved for Paulo Coelho.
But, when it comes to pure storytelling, to the invention of rich characters, to just plain fun, Jorge can’t be beat.
He once said:
I'm under no illusions about the importance of my work. But if it has any worth, it is that it truly reflects the Brazilian people.
I think he was underestimating himself in the first part.
But so very right when it came to the second.