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The Participant Observer International Book of the Month is Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon by Jorge Amado.
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.
"An exciting and enjoyable romp of a book, rich in literary delights." —The New York Times
"An enchanting and romantic novel . . . . A comedy vivid, believable, and entertaining."—The Atlantic Monthly