Raduan Murad and Jamil Bichara discovered America together, having come to port in Bahia on the same emigrant ship in 1903. On the southern coast of the State they were referred to as “Turks”, the Brazilian designation for all Arabs, whether from Syria, Lebanon or Turkey itself.
Described by the author as a “little novel”, How the Turks Discovered America is a brief treatment of the contribution of Arab descendents to the cocoa society back when barons and hired gunslingers fought over the virgin lands of Ilhéus.
The Lebanese Raduan and the Syrian Jamil decide to try their luck in the Cocoa Eldorado. Jamil settles in the village of Itaguassu, where he opens a small shop. Raduan opts to stay on in Itabuna, where he frequents the poker tables, bars, cabarets and women’s boarding houses.
The short and hilarious plot tells of an arranged marriage that proves difficult to carry through. Ibrahim Jafet, a widower and father of three beautiful daughters (Samira, Jamile and Fárida), wants to marry off his last remaining single daughter, the severe and ungainly Adma. As a dowry, he offers the willing suitor an equal share in his haberdashery, The Bargain Bin, a longstanding family-run establishment.
Urged on by Shitan, the Muslim devil, and his friend Raduan, the Syrian Jamil thinks long and hard on the proposal: is inheriting the Bargain Bin really worth the sacrifice of marrying Adma? Written with the author’s trademark raucous and rapturous good humour, A descoberta da América pelos turcos celebrates the mixing of Arab and Bahian blood in its elements of fraternity, joy and eroticism.