Baltasar and BlimundaPaperback
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- Publisher: The Harvill Press
- Format: Paperback | 352 pages
- Dimensions: 126mm x 196mm x 34mm | 280g
- Publication date: 20 September 2001
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 1860469019
- ISBN 13: 9781860469015
- Sales rank: 74,006
In early 18th-century Lisbon, Baltasar, a soldier who has lost his left hand in battle, falls in love with Blimunda, a young girl with visionary powers. From the day that he follows her home from the auto-da-fe where her mother is burned at the stake, the two are bound body and soul by love of an unassailable strength. A third party shares their supper that evening: Padre Bartolomeu Lourenco, whose fantasy is to invent a flying machine. As the Crown and the Church clash, they purse his impossible, not to mention heretical, dream of flight.
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Jose Saramago was born in Portugal in 1922. His oeuvre embraces plays. poetry, memoirs and several novels which have been translated into more than 20 languages. It was the publication of Baltasar & Blimunda in 1988 that first brought him to the attention of an English-speaking readership. This novel won the Portuguese PEN Club Award, as did his next, The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis , which also won the Independent Foreign Fiction Award. His fiction has established him as one of Europe's most influential living writers. Jose Saramago was awarded the Novel Prize for Literature in 1998.
"A mighty novel, variously bawdy, elevated, angry and tender, combining erudition, comedy, heresy, surreal science fiction and countless good stories." -- Robert Farren Sunday Independent "Original and brilliant...Lovers of Marquez and magical realism will be enchanted by the wonders of this novel, for the colour and vivacity of Saramago's imagination inspires and entertains." -- Kate Figes Sunday Times "Jose Saramago affirms the simple truths as only a writer of rare stature can." -- Christopher Wordsworth Guardian
Set in early-18th-century Portugal, the novel exploits the rich seam of magic realism lying just below the surface of Latin countries. The impulsive love between lowly Baltasar and Blimunda is drawn in contrast to the cold copulation of the realm's monarchs. Saramago's rich, fantastical meditations on love, religion and monarchy are told with a wickedly sharp, satirical humour that soon convinces that the Nobel Prize awarded to this Portuguese author in 1998 was well deserved. (Kirkus UK)