The Elephant's Journey - Jose Saramago

In THE ELEPHANT’S JOURNEY (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24) the late Nobel laureate José Saramago recreates an actual expedition undertaken in 1551 by Solomon the elephant, his keeper, and a large retinue of soldiers, porters, and nobles. The king of Portugal having decided to honor the Archduke of Austria’s wedding by bestowing on him an Asian elephant, the challenge lay in getting the gift to its recipient. This historical tidbit caught Saramago’s eye for the unlikely, and as his narrative retraces the trek from Lisbon to Vienna—which included an Alpine crossing in a blizzard—he fills in the factual interstices with his trademark musings on subjects as disparate as religion, social hierarchy, fate, the development of languages, and how animals think. By turns enchantingly whimsical and solidly realistic, this is a historical novel in the guise of fable. Or perhaps a fable under the cover of history.

The Elephant's Journey By José Saramago Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547574110
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Published: Mariner Books - May 11th, 2011