Buy This Book: Gabriella, Clove, and Cinnamon by Jorge Amado
Whenever I start to despair about politics, I think of a book I read about 25 years ago when the Gare Bear and I were living on our fire tower in the northern California wilderness. Far from the madding (and maddening) crowd, I sat in the rarified air and read this book that will always make me laugh at the way politics will always be. From the flap:
Ilhéus in 1925 is a booming town with a record cacao crop and aspirations for progress, but the traditional ways prevail. When Colonel Mendonça discovers his wife in bed with a lover, he shoots and kills them both. Political contests, too, can be settled by gunshot. No one imagines that a bedraggled migrant worker who turns up in town–least of all Gabriela herself–will be the agent of change. Nacib Saad has just lost the cook at his popular café and in desperation hires Gabriela. To his surprise she turns out to be a great beauty as well as a wonderful cook and an enchanting boon to his business. But what would people say if Nacib were to marry her? Lusty, satirical and full of intrigue, Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon is a vastly entertaining panorama of small town Brazilian life.Gabriella, Clove, and Cinnamon is a great book to digest in the context of Arizona profiling policy and the debate over migration and immigration.