Just Merveilleux

Life at № 42

Ideal reading for warm weather: Marcel Pagnol, Rabindranath Tagore & Jorge Amado

amado

In case you haven’t heard any of those names, I urge you to investigate. Each is a legend in the country of their birth: France, India (Bengal) & Brazil. In all three cases the writing is elegant and light- thoroughly enjoyable. Perfect for the summer.

Pagnol writes about life in the south of France where he grew up. I don’t mean glamorous parties at seaside villas, but village life. Olives, the smell of lavender- and how provincial society worked in the 1st half of the 20th century. Tagore was the first non-european to win the Nobel prize of literature (1913). His short stories are particularly amusing. Amado is from Bahia in the northeast of Brazil. Again, not the Brazil with the glamour of the Copacabana Palace or with the skyscrapers of São Paulo. Bahia is a world of its own. Culturally it’s practically a country of its own. Less than 20% of the population identify as white while a whopping nearly 80% identify as pardo (mixed black) or black. Food, customs, music, clothing- another world. Here’s what I mean:

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9 comments on “Ideal reading for warm weather: Marcel Pagnol, Rabindranath Tagore & Jorge Amado

  1. makagutu
    August 30, 2016

    Interesting group of people, the Bahia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Strangely so. Highly religious in a very bastardised sort of way. They mix African tribal religions with Catholicism- and are great believers in superstitious rituals. The food is amazing 🙂 Much of my childhood was spent there.

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      • makagutu
        August 30, 2016

        That must have been a childhood of fond memories, without the religious bit of course.

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      • I have mixed feelings… The poverty and inequality are shocking.

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      • makagutu
        August 30, 2016

        I hesitated to ask you about poverty. I am guessing even literacy levels must be quite low.

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      • A little bit better now, but 30 years ago the situation was very grim. It was normal for a woman to have 8, 10 or 14 children. No access to decent schools or health care. High crime rates.

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      • makagutu
        August 30, 2016

        8-14 children! That’s like insurance for those who might die before they are able to continue the species.
        I think the high crime rate is an oddity. Were they living among rich neighbors?

        Liked by 1 person

      • At that level of generalized poverty, owning tennis shoes was a luxury.

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      • makagutu
        August 30, 2016

        You are talking tennis shoes! Did they even have sandals?

        Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on August 30, 2016 by in life and tagged , .
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