The title tells it all – Jorge Amado’s Violent Land is about brutal cacao warlords in Bahia, Brazil fighting over Cacao plantations. The novel comes complete with flashes of jealousy, damsels in distress, hired assassins, cowardly politicians under the cacao landlord’s pay, prostitutes, blood feuds, and so on. However, the single-minded attention on the intra-elite intramurals leads to the absence of any mention of people’s resistance to this setup. Still, Violent Land touches briefly on the plight of landless peasants and jobless semiproletariat in the cities lured into the countryside by the Cacao-rush. Land grabbing is the in thing among the landed gentry that form the protagonists of this novel on semifeudal Brazil of the 1920s. Great book. Reads like the Godfather meeting Therese Raquin or Crime and Punishment. Absolutely lovely ending too:
It ordinarily takes five years for cacao trees to bear their first fruit, but those that were planted on the Sequeiro Grande tract began budding at the end of the third year and were yielding fruit the year following. Even those agricultural experts who had studied in the schools, even the old planters who knew cacao as no one else did, were astonished at the size of the nuts that these groves so precociously produced. Those nuts were enormous ones, and the trees were laden with them to their topmost boughs. Nothing of the kind had ever been seen before; for this was the best land in the world for the planting of cacao, a land fertilized with human blood.