Graphic design Kiko Farkas / Máquina Estúdio e Elisa Cardoso/ Máquina Estúdio
Cover image Marcel Gautherot
21.00 x 14.00 cm, 360 pp. ISBN 9788535913545 46,50
Jubiabá Novel, 1935 | Afterword by Antônio Dimas
Antônio Balduíno is a poor lad born and raised in the Capa-Negro slum, where he lives alongside the most respected men in the neighbourhood, like the guitar player Zé Camarão and the saint-father Jubiabá. From a very young age, Baldo dreams of one day having his tale told in an ABC, a popular composition celebrating the lives of heroes and saints. When the aunt who reared him goes mad, Baldo is entrusted to the commendatory Pereira. He lives comfortably in his new home, where he enjoys the company of the young Lindinalva, but the day arrives when he is forced to flee, thus beginning the adventures that will make the name of Antônio Balduíno. After a spell living as a vagrant on the streets, he becomes the boxer known as Baldo, the Black. He starts hanging out at the Drowned Man’s Lantern, a waterfront bar on the quays in Bahia, and writing and selling sambas. He travels to Recôncavo, where he works on a tobacco plantation before joining a circus troupe, collecting a string of lovers along the way. But Baldo remains true to his platonic love for Lindinalva, and it is thanks to a request from her that he takes a job as a docker and spearheads the general strike in Salvador. As father Jubiabá says, slavery has not ended, and Baldo refuses to give in. In the end, the ABC of Antônio Balduíno reads that the brave, pugnacious Negro fought for the freedom of his people. Jorge Amado’s fourth published novel, Jubiabá tells the story of one of the first Black heroes in Brazilian literature. This book occupies a central place in Amado’s oeuvre, with the contradictions between the world of work, racial conflict, ideology, and struggle, on the one hand, and of that of parties, religious syncretism, miscegenation and sensuality on the other; two facets that would mark the author’s entire production.
Illustration by Carybé
Begun in the middle of 1934 in the town of Conceição da Feira in Bahia, when Jorge Amado was 22 years old, Jubiabá was completed in Rio de Janeiro the following year. Many of the most striking characters of his later works made their first appearance here, such as the sailors Guma and master Manuel, from Sea of Dead, 1936, and The Two Deaths of Quincas Wateryell, 1961. The story of Pedro Bala in Captains of the Sands, 1937, recalls many aspects of the life of Antônio Balduíno, whilst Tent of Miracles, 1969, returned to and reworked various themes from Jubiabá. The saint-father Jubiabá himself, according to Jorge Amado’s notes in the guide Bahia de Todos os Santos, 1945, actually existed in real life. This novel earned the author international projection. When it was published in French by the publisher Gallimard, the writer Albert Camus hailed it as “a magnificent and haunting” book. Translated into fourteen languages, Jubiabá was made into a radio soap opera in the 1940s, followed by various theatre adaptations in the 60s and 70s. In 1985, the filmmaker Nelson Pereira dos Santos directed a version for cinema and television. The story also appeared in comic book format through the publisher “Edição Maravilhosa”.
Life on Capa-Negro Hill was harsh and difficult. All the men worked very hard, some at the docks, loading and unloading ships or carrying bags for travelers, others in distant factories and in poorly paid trades: shoemaker, tailor, barber. The black women sold rice pudding, munguzá, sarapatel, and acarajé in the twisting streets of the city; black women washed clothes; black women were cooks in rich houses in stylish neighborhoods. Many of the boys worked, too. They were bootblacks, messengers, newspaper vendors. A few went to handsome houses and were taken in to work for rich families in exchange for room and board. The rest sprawled over the streets of the hill in fights, races, and games. These were the smaller ones. They already knew their destiny from an early age: They would grow up and work at the docks where they would become bent under the weight of the bags of cocoa, or they would earn a living in the huge factories. And they were not resentful because for years and years it had been that way; the boys from the pretty, shaded streets would be doctors, lawyers, engineers, businessmen, rich bosses.