The Elephant's Journey (Hardcover)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780547352589, 224pp.
Publication Date: September 1, 2010
A delightful, witty tale of friendship and adventure from prize-winning novelist José Saramago
In 1551, King João III of Portugal gave Archduke Maximilian an unusual wedding present: an elephant named Solomon. In José Saramago's remarkable and imaginative retelling, Solomon and his keeper, Subhro, begin in dismal conditions, forgotten in a corner of the palace grounds. When it occurs to the king and queen that an elephant would be an appropriate wedding gift, everyone rushes to get them ready: Subhro is given two new suits of clothes and Solomon a long overdue scrub. Accompanied by the Archduke, his new wife, and the royal guard, these unlikely heroes traverse a continent riven by the Reformation and civil wars, witnessed along the way by scholars, historians, and wide-eyed ordinary people as they make their way through the storied cities of northern Italy; they brave the Alps and the terrifying Isarco and Brenner Passes; across the Mediterranean Sea and up the Inn River; and at last, toward their grand entry into the imperial city.
Praise For The Elephant's Journey…
"It would be hard to more highly recommend a novel to be downed in a single draft…Simply, this books flows, and keeps on flowing."
--The New York Times
"His most optimistic, playful, humorous and magical book, a grace note written near the end of his life...The Elephant's Journey is a tale rich in irony and empathy, regularly interrupted by witty reflections on human nature and arch commentary on the powerful who insult human dignity."
-- Los Angeles Times
"Saramago...spun this whimsical yet compulsively readable tale...it's a perfect example of why [he] will be remembered as a master of surreal, enchanting prose."
"A picaresque romp that gleefully skewers the benighted souls clinging to outmoded worldviews while breathtaking new realities unfold right in front of them."
-- Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel