Home Is the Sailor – Jorge Amado (1964)

“Vasco Moscoso de Aragão makes port in Periperi, on the coast of Bahia. His sailor’s uniform, charts, pipe and telescope become attractions in the small town. Besides the nautical instruments that fascinate the locals, the townsfolk also fall for the long-distance captain’s storytelling. Tales of far-off lands and distant ports – Marseilles, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Calcutta – and admirable and adventurous deeds, braving storms and sharks on the Red Sea, shipwrecks on remote islands, tragic and sinful loves. Told in the tone of an old-mariner’s tale, Jorge Amado’s narrative paints a portrait of the customs of Bahian society in the early 20th Century as encapsulated by this sleepy coastal town, with its mix of illustrious doctors, rich traders, respectable ladies, retirees, civil servants and lay-abouts. In this setting, the captain and his extraordinary experiences stand out like a sore thumb. Life at sea has taught him things that go beyond navigation, instilling him with all the qualities of the honourable man, deft poker player, and romantic conquistador. As if overnight, Periperi has found itself a hero. But it does not take long before the captain’s presence incites envy and distrust. Convinced that the mariner is a fraud, the retired tax inspector Chico Pacheco sets about rummaging through Vasco Moscoso de Aragão’s past. In Home is the Sailor, Jorge Amado contrasts the rule-bound repetitiveness of common life with the adventurous world of the sailor, where all boundaries are blurred between truth and fantasy, dream and reality, the tension of the facts and the beauty of the narrative. …”
Jorge Amado
W – Home Is the Sailor

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