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The Tale of the Unknown Islandby Jose Saramago
Synopses & Reviews
José Saramago was only eighteen months old when he moved from the village of Azinhaga with his father and mother to live in Lisbon. Nevertheless, he would return to the village throughout his childhood and adolescence to stay with his maternal grandparents, illiterate peasants in the eyes of the outside world, but the fount of knowledge, affection, and authority to the young José. This book is a mosaic of memories, a simply told, affecting look back into the authors boyhood: the tragic death of his older brother at the age of four; his mother pawning the familys blankets every spring and buying them back in time for winter; uncles in fits of jealousy, aunts prophetic, comforting or drunken; his beloved grandparents bringing the weaker piglets into their bed on cold nights. And his early encounters with literature, from the memory of listening entranced to the weekly installments of Maria, the Fairy of the Forest to poring over an entertaining dialogue in a Portuguese-French conversation guide, not realizing that he was in fact reading a play by Moliere. Written with his characteristic wit and honesty, Small Memories traces the formation of an individual and an artist who emerged, against all the odds, as one of the world's most respected writers.
A man went to knock at the king's door and said, Give me a boat. The king's house had many other doors, but this was the door for petitions. Since the king spent all his time sitting at the door for favors (favors being offered to the king, you understand), whenever he heard someone knocking at the door for petitions, he would pretend not to hear . . ." Why the petitioner required a boat, where he was bound for, and who volunteered to crew for him, the reader will discover in this delightful fable, a philosophic love story worthy of Swift or Voltaire.
In this richly imagined fable of love, written by a 1998 Novel Prize winner and illustrated by an award-winning artist, a man comes knocking at a king's door to petition a boat. Readers learn where he's bound and who volunteers to be on his crew. Color line art throughout.
About the Author
JOSÉ SARAMAGO was born in 1922. He is the author of numerous novels, including Blindness, All the Names, The Cave, and Death with Interruptions. In 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
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