THE SWALLOW AND THE TOM CAT by Jorge Amado

THE SWALLOW AND THE TOM CAT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Originally written in 1948 as a birthday gift for Amado's infant son: a tiny, obvious fable--with cutesy touches and arch literary asides--supposedly told by The Wind to Morning. (""Is there anybody who hasn't heard about the Wind's secret passion for Morning? Secret? It's the talk of the whole wide world!"") The Wind's story: the fearsome Tom Cat falls in love with the fearless, impertinent Swallow--""They wandered all over the park together, like inseparable friends, he running over the green grass, she flying through the blue sky""--and even writes her a sonnet. But this inter-species romance is doomed, because ""flowers blushed and whispered in Earth's ear: 'A Swallow can't marry, can't marry a cat!'"" And so the Swallow marries the Nightingale instead, and the Torn. Cat is desolate: ""All that was left for him was the red rose petal over his heart like a drop of blood."" Amado (Tieta, Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands) dresses the narrative up a bit--with ""parenthetical asides,"" chapters out of order (""Blame it on structural error or the promptings of modern literary wisdom, whichever you like""), and a tad of parody: Cururu Toad, Ph.D., academically dissects the Tom Cat's attempt at a sonnet. And there's an occasional earthy touch in the inter-animal dialogue--as when the Tom Cat tells the Solemn Cow: ""Lady, you're much too big a dame to be walking around without a bra!"" But this remains a flimsy, saccharine Aesop-ian effort--a private Amado-family whimsy which probably should have stayed private.

Pub Date: Oct. 27th, 1982
Publisher: Delacorte