Books: Nacib's Omnamorata

GABRIELA, CLOVE AND CINNAMON (425 pp.)—Jorge Amado—Knopf ($5.95).

Old hands in the little Brazilian cacao port of Ilhéus complain that the place has become overcivilized, and with reason. Take the matter of government. In the past, a sane, orderly rule was established and maintained in Ilhéus by the most efficient of means: gunfire. Now, in the 1920s, there are modernists who say that gunfire is outdated; the new method is the free election. Polls are rigged, of course, to ensure that power remains in the proper hands, but oldtimers see no merit in the innovation; the elections are cumbersome and not at...

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