Jorge Amado has been called the greatest twentieth-century Brazilian novelist. He was born in 1912 in Ilheus, in the northeastern-most state of Bahai. This area serves as the backdrop for most of Amado's work, which reflects a deep appreciation of the Brazilian essence. Amado's works have made him a national figure in Brazil. Amado's early novels were shaped by a belief in Marxism, and relate the sufferings of humble fishermen and cocoa plantation workers. By the 1950s, he had turned his attention to the plight of middle-class Bahains. This more jovial approach brought him worldwide acclaim, and his keen comic sense and appreciation of the common man have drawn comparisons to the novels of Charles Dickens. Music, cuisine, and passion figure prominently in Amado's literary output. Amado's works have been translated from Portuguese into more than forty languages, have sold over fifty million copies worldwide, and have been reworked for film, television, and stage. His portraits of commanding female characters, including Gabriela from Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon, and Dona Flor from Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, have been adapted to the screen, and actress Sonia Braga earned her initial success in these roles. Other titles include The Sand Captains; Memory of a Child; The War of the Saints; and Home Is the Sailor.