The Discovery of America by the Turks

The Discovery of America by the Turks

Translator: Gregory Rabassa

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780143106982
  • 96  Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


For the first time in English: legendary Brazilian author Jorge Amado’s spirited novella about Arab immigrants to South America—published for the centennial of Amado’s birth

Two Arab immigrants—"Turks" as Brazilians call them—arrive in the rough Brazilian frontier on the same ship in 1903, hoping to find a future. They rub shoulders with gunslingers and plantation owners, and also tangle with merchants, one of whom is desperate to marry off his impossible daughter. Thus ensues a farcical drama that produces, in a humorous twist, the unlikeliest of suitors in this whimsical Brazilian take on The Taming of the Shrew.


“Funny, intelligent, often tender, not infrequently raunchy . . . The tale unfolds with twists worthy of a Shakespearean comedy, but what is truly memorable are Amado’s character portraits and his vibrant comic scenes of Brazilian life. . . . [An] excellent example of the particular mixture of folkloric elements and high-literary storytelling for which Amado is often paired with Gabriel García Márquez.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Delightful . . . A wonder of the art of narration [by] the voice, the feeling, and the joy of Brazil.” —José Saramago, from the Foreword

“Hugely entertaining . . . Amado’s version of Brazil is seductive.” —The Times Literary Supplement

“Cause for rejoicing . . . Irresistible . . .  Thoroughly satisfying. There’s more packed into the slender The Discovery of America by the Turks than many a novel five times its length, delivered with zest and spice and an unashamed love of physical pleasure. Perhaps more than any other author, Jorge Amado can capture in words the simple, radiant joys of living.” —Shelf Awareness

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