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Sea of Death
Jorge Amado; Gregory Rabassa, trans.



Brazilian Literature in Translation Series

Tagus
2013 • 244 pp. 6 x 9"
Fiction Classics


$24.95 Hardcover, 978-1-933227-49-8


Trans. from the Portuguese

“Gregory Rabassa’s translation elevates Sea of Death to a mythopoetic adventure. A charismatic storyteller. . . . No other Latin American writer is more genuinely admired by his peers, nor has any other exerted so great a creative influence on the course of Latin American fiction.”—The New York Times Book Review

Sea of Death describes the sea’s unconquerable mysteries and the robust yearnings of seafaring men—a world of storms and smugglers, of reckless passion and star-crossed love

Written in 1936 when Amado was twenty-four years old, Sea of Death tells the dockside tales of Bahia. Sailors and their wives, steeped in the rich mythology surrounding the goddess Iemanjá, are at the heart of this novel, a lyrical and tragic portrayal of the workers’ daily struggle for survival. Sea of Death narrates the story of Guma and Lívia, lovers whose triumphs and tribulations mirror the dark imperatives of the world around them.

Reviews / Endorsements

“Gregory Rabassa’s translation elevates Sea of Death to a mythopoetic adventure. A charismatic storyteller. . . . No other Latin American writer is more genuinely admired by his peers, nor has any other exerted so great a creative influence on the course of Latin American fiction.”—The New York Times Book Review

“One of the greatest writers . . . also one of the most entertaining.”—Mario Vargas Llosa

“Jorge Amado [was] the voice, the feeling, and the joy of Brazil.”—José Saramago

From the Book:

Now I should like to tell the dockside tales of Bahia. Old sailors who mend sails, pilots of sloops, tattooed blacks, rogues, all know these stories and these songs. I would hear them on moonlight nights on the Market wharf, in fairs, in small ports around the bay, next to huge Swedish ships at the piers in Ilhéus. Iemanjá’s people have much to tell.
Come listen to these stories and these songs. Come hear the story of Guma and Lívia, which is the story of life and love on the sea. And if you don’t find it beautiful, the fault won’t lie with the rough men who tell it, but because you’re hearing it from the mouth of a man of the land, and only with great difficulty can a man of the land understand the heart of sailors. Even when that man loves these stories and these songs and attends the rites of Dona Janaína, even then he doesn’t know all the secrets of the sea. For the sea is a mystery that even old sailors don’t understand.



JORGE AMADO (1912–2001), son of a cacao planter, shaped the image of Brazil in the twentieth century. Hailed by the New York Times as “Brazil’s best-loved writer,” Amado is the author of Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon and Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands. His novels have been translated into nearly 50 languages. GREGORY RABASSA is the preeminent translator from the Spanish and Portuguese.



Wed, 17 May 2017 13:02:58 -0500