Journey to Portugal

Journey to Portugal


By (author) Jose Saramago, Translated by Nick Caistor, Translated by Amanda Hopkinson

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  • Publisher: The Harvill Press
  • Format: Paperback | 464 pages
  • Dimensions: 126mm x 196mm x 24mm | 240g
  • Publication date: 24 January 2002
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1860468721
  • ISBN 13: 9781860468728
  • Illustrations note: 70 b&w photographs, 6 maps
  • Sales rank: 98,512

Product description

From the misty mountains of the north to the southern seascape of the Algarve, the travels of Nobel Laureate Jose Saramago are a passionate rediscovery of his own land. Setting off in his veteran motor car, Saramago wants to travel to Portugal, as well as through it: by making it his destination the acclaimed writer hopes to take stock of his native land as it hovers on the edge of the modern world. He is no typical guide - he avoids the "sights" in favour of a remote Romanesque church, a cobweb-ridden chapel, the local and the domestic - but, with his deep fount of memory and erudite knowledge, each encounter evoking the span of Portugal's history, he is anyone's idea of a delightful travelling companion.

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Author information

Born in Portugal in 1922, Jose Saramago was one of the most important writers of his generation. He was in his fifties when he came to prominence as a novelist with the publication of Baltasar & Blimunda. A huge body of work followed, which included plays, poetry, short stories, non-fiction and over a dozen novels, including Blindness which was made into an acclaimed film. He has been translated into more than forty languages, and in 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died on 18 June 2010, shortly after the Portuguese publication of Cain.

Review quote

"No portico, farmhouse or ancient church is left undisturbed in Saramago's readable, if labyrinthine, tale of travelling across his homeland in 1979" -- Samuel Muston Independent "None but a Portuguese could have written this book; none but Saramago could produce travel writing like this. It is a wholly appropriate tribute to that astonishing juncture where the sea ends and the land begins" -- Henry Sheen New Statesman "A book a search for his country's heartbeat... The writing is, as always with Saramago, dense: a labyrinth of meaning and innuendo. But what is clear is that he loves Portugal." -- Simon Blow Independent on Sunday "One feels privileged to be in his company... This book is a joy to pick up and a delight to read" -- Hugh O'Shaughnessy Tablet

Editorial reviews

This vivid and authentic travel book demonstrates Saramagos total understanding of the Portuguese character, which has allowed him to create a truly astonishing picture of the search for a countrys heart. From the mountains of the north to the sultry seas of the Algarve, the Nobel Prize-winning author takes us on a voyage of rediscovery. As he re-encounters his own land (in his veteran automobile) we are allowed insights that few non-Portuguese writers could provide. Again and again, incidents from the bizarre to the entertainingly banal illustrate the quirks of the national character and make for delightful reading. We are shown a land on the brink of modernity, still clinging passionately to the past but tipping into the new age. There are no conventional sights here: we are more likely to be taken into a cobweb-festooned chapel than to a cosy bistro. But as an introduction to his countrys history, as much as its topography, this is splendid stuff. The translation by Nick Caistor and Amanda Hopkinson is also excellent: too often, pedestrian translations torpedo idiomatic foreign writing, but here the poetically wrought English prose is one of the principal pleasures afforded by the book. Readers will be keen for more from the talented Saramago. (Kirkus UK)