Solomon the elephant's life is about to be upturned. For two years he has been in Lisbon, brought from the Portuguese colonies in India. Now King Dom João III wishes to make him a wedding gift for the Hapsburg archduke, Maximilian. It's a nice idea, since it avoids the Portuguese king offending his Lutheran cousin with an overtly Catholic present. But it means the poor pachyderm must travel from Lisbon to Vienna on foot - the only option when transporting a large animal such a long way. So begins a journey that will take the stalwart Solomon across the dusty plains of Castile, over the sea to Genoa and up to northern Italy where, like Hannibal's elephants before him, he must cross the snowy Alps. Accompanying him is his quiet keeper, Subhro, who watches while - at every place they stop - people try to turn Solomon into something he is not. From worker of holy miracles to umbrella stand, the unassuming elephant suffers the many attempts of humans to impose meaning on what they don't understand. Saramago's latest novel is an enchanting mix of fact (an Indian elephant really did make this journey in 1551), fable and fantasy. Filled with wonderful landscapes and local colour, peppered with witty reflection on human failings and achievements, it is, in the end, about the journey of life itself.
"It is extremely funny. Old Saramago writes with a masterfully light hand, and the humour is tender, a mockery so tempered by patience and pity that the sting is gone though the wit remains vital... a series of contained miracles of absurdity, quiet laughter rising out of a profound, resigned, affectionate wisdom" Ursula K Le Guin Guardian
José Saramago, geboren am 16. November 1922 in Azinhaga in der portugiesischen Provinz Ribatejo, entstammt einer Landarbeiterfamilie. Nach dem Besuch des Gymnasiums arbeitete er als Maschinenschlosser, technischer Zeichner und Angestellter. Später war er Mitarbeiter eines Verlags und Journalist bei verschiedenen Lissabonner Tageszeitungen. Ab 1966 widmete er sich verstärkt der Schriftstellerei. Während der Salazar- Diktatur gehörte er zur Opposition. Der Romancier, Erzähler, Lyriker, Dramatiker und Essayist erhielt 1998 den Nobelpreis für Literatur. Er starb am 18. Juni 2010 auf Lanzarote.
"It is extremely funny. Old Saramago writes with a masterfully light hand, and the humour is tender, a mockery so tempered by patience and pity that the sting is gone though the wit remains vital... a series of contained miracles of absurdity, quiet laughter rising out of a profound, resigned, affectionate wisdom" -- Ursula K Le Guin Guardian "The novel has a charming fairy tale quality, with its kings and courtiers, it pachyderm protagonist and his mysterious mahout: this is amoung the most charming of Saramago's works" -- Michael Kerrigan Times Literary Supplement "The Elephant's Journey is well worth picking up" Syndicated review to local papers "Jose Saramango wrote his final book with great panache" -- Margaret Reynolds The Times "Saramago enjoys filling out the details with improvisatory skill and imagination" -- John Spurling Sunday Times