Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho
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: