Books: Nights of Song & Stars

SHEPHERDS OF THE NIGHT by Jorge Amado. 364 pages. Knopf. $5.95.

"Open the jug of rum and give me a swallow to clear my throat." That is the way tales are begun in northeastern Brazil. And when the storyteller is Jorge Amado, it is well to take another swallow and settle back for an epic journey into passion, music, gambling, a bit of fighting and all manner of discursive side trips; Amado holds that there is "nothing worse than telling a story hurry-scurry, slipshod, without carefully analyzing everything."

In this new novel, his fifth to...

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