Synopses & Reviews
From the recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature, a “brilliant...enchanting novel” (New York Times
Book Review) of romance, deceit, religion, and magic set in eighteenth-century Portugal at the height of the Inquisition. National bestseller. Translated by Giovanni Pontiero.
"Saramago's epic novel is set in 18th-century Portugal, a kingdom bloated with plundered wealth and top-heavy with churches and priests. Real events (the erection of an enormous convent in the tiny village of Mafra) and real personages (an heretical priest bent on building a flying machine) figure prominently. But the maimed soldier and his visionary lover named in the title are bit players, for the real protagonist here is Portugal itself in travail. Distanced and ironic, Saramago's novel might well have been written to illustrate Walpole's dictum that "the world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." Recommended for collections emphasizing modern continental fiction." Library Journal, Grove Koger, Boise P.L., Id.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Saramago has blended fact and fiction in much the same way as Marquez and others use magical realism, to create an elegantly written, surrealistic reflection on life in 18th century Portugal. It is a time of astonishing excessautos-da-fe, the Inquisition, an outbreak of the plague, colonialismand the two central characters, Baltasar, a soldier just home from the wars, and Blimunda, a clairvoyant who can actually see inside people, are enlisted by the renegade priest, Bartolomeu Lourenco de Gusmao, to help him construct a flying machine. (A mad genius, Bartolomeu actually existed and is now considered a pioneer of aviation.) The machine does fly, but with disastrous consequences for all involved. This is a dark, philosophical tale that shows off the talents of Portugal's premier contemporary writer." Publisher's Weekly, Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
JOSÉ SARAMAGO (1922–2010) was the author of many novels, among them Blindness, All the Names, Baltasar and Blimunda, and The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis. In 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.