Knopf is publishing a fifth work of the noted Brazilian novelist Jorge Amado. It is a collection of three long stories, all of which are about Bahia and the same group of friends. The stories, concerning a triangle love situation, a voodoo christening, and the machinations of country politics, are written as ""tales."" Amado is both narrator and commentator. In the first story, Corporal Martim, inveterate gadabout, marries an out-of-town woman, very beautiful but a cruel sneak, with whom his friend Bullfinch falls madly in love. It is a simple, ironic story that brings out all the follies of romance and hypocrisy. The second story is merely a wild tribute to the voodoo cults in Brazil; affectionately tongue-in-cheek, Amado calls up the supernatural. But he is at his best in the last story, when he verges on real satire yet sustains his gentle realism. Martim, Bullfinch, Jesuino, and their friends set up shacks on vacant land by the beach, thus precipitating a political crisis, where everyone on top of the heap is out for himself, and the squatters go on living and being attacked by the police occasionally. It is both a very funny and very bitter story. With his balanced humor, criticism, and sheer story-telling, Amado convincingly conveys his sympathy for the small-town poor in Brazil.