Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (novel)
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (Portuguese: Dona Flor e Seus Dois Maridos) is a fantasy novel by Brazilian writer Jorge Amado, published in 1966; it was translated into English in 1969. The novel has been adapted into a 1976 film.
The novel, set in Salvador, Bahia, opens with the sudden death of Dona Flor's husband, Vadinho, who collapses in the midst of Carnival celebrations. He is dancing a samba in the streets when his heart gives out, a surprise to all as Vadinho had spent his entire life gambling, partying and drinking with no hint of problems. His nights on the town and his two-timing had been supported by sponging off Dona Flor, the owner of a successful cooking school and his demands for money had been a constant worry and cause of sleepless nights for her. The women of the town thought she was well rid of him. But after Vadinho's death, he remained the love of her life and she missed his seductiveness. He was irresistible, and his absence was, for Dona Flor, worse than the long nights when she waited for him to come home.
After a period of mourning, Dona Flor attracts another admirer, a local pharmacist, Teodoro. Unlike Vadinho he is a pillar of respectability, kind and considerate. Dona Flor accepts his proposal. While her new husband lacks the passionate sensuality of Vadinho, he compensates by providing a life free of worry. But, on the first anniversary of her marriage, Vadinho returns. He is now a ghost, but has lost none of his old ways. His activities create commotion everywhere, from Dona Flor’s marriage bed to the local nightspots. She is torn between her attraction to the ghost and her desire to continue as the faithful wife of Teodoro, who has no idea what is going on.
Throughout the novel, Amado draws on Afro-Brazilian rituals and folklore. In the final section local deities get heavily involved, as well as most of the mystics of Bahia. But Vadinho is the centerpiece of the novel, and the book capture the extravagance of his exploits, both during his life and after his death. According to a review by Ted Gioia "few stories have done a better job of capturing this type of lovable villain".
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