21.00 x 14.00 cm, 296 pp. ISBN 9788535914078 48,50
Home is the Sailor Novel, 1961 | Afterword by Fábio Lucas
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.
Home is the Sailor was completed in Rio de Janeiro in early 1961. The text was originally published in a volume of the same name, Home is the Sailor, along with the novella The Two Deaths of Quincas Wateryell. Jorge Amado was enjoying a period of intense literary production and widespread recognition. After distancing himself from the Communist Party in the mid-50s, he had written Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon, which marked a turning point in his career. In 1961 he was elected to the Brazilian Academy of Letters. That same year, The Two Deaths of Quincas Wateryell was published in French by the magazine Temps Modernes. The author received tributes in Bahia and Rio de Janeiro to mark the 30th anniversary of his literary debut with The Country of Carnival. From 1976 on, the story of Vasco Moscoso de Aragão started to be published as a separate novel, sometimes under the title Home is the Sailor, and sometimes as O capitão-de-longo-curso. In January 1979, the French magazine Lire ranked Alice Raillard’s translation, Le Vieux Marin, among the twenty best novels of the previous year. There have been over fifty editions of the novel, which has also been published in Portugal and in diverse translations. In 2006, when Jorge Amado was the subject of a special tribute at the International Literary Festival of Paraty (FLIP), the singer Maria Bethânia read passages from the novel during a show inspired by the author’s works. Bethânia also performed Jorge Portugal and Vevé Calasans’ “Memorias do mar” (Memories of the Sea), a song directly inspired by this novel by Jorge Amado.
AH. THE TELESCOPE... On its wings they set out for the exploration of the moon and the stars, fantastic voyages that broke the barriers of monotony and boredom. s though at the wave of a magic wand. Periperi ceased to be a humdrum suburb on the Leste Brasileira Line, peopled by old folks awaiting death, and became transformed into an interplanetary station from which bold pilots took off on the conquest of space. The big living room with its windows opening over the waters, where so many gay parties had been held in past summers, with the Cordeiro girls and their friends whirling about in young men’s arms, was completely transformed. The vases of flowers had disappeared, the piano on which Adélia had murdered waltzes and fox trots, the victrola. the pretentious furnishings. I he room now resembled the deckhouse of a ship, to the point where Leminhos, who had a delicate stomach, felt queasy and a little seasick whenever he went into it. The rope ladder, hanging from a window, led straight to the beach; and Zequinha Curvelo, an aspirant to the post of purser, planned to go in and out by it when his troublesome rheumatism got better.