The Elephant's Journey: A Novel

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The Elephant's Journey: A Novel

by Jose Saramago

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | September 6, 2011 | Hardcover

The Elephant's Journey: A Novel is rated 3 out of 5 by 2.

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.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 224 pages, 8.5 × 5.75 × 0.75 in

Published: September 6, 2011

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0547352581

ISBN - 13: 9780547352589

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from Hard to get through The story is interesting only in that it is based on real events. Other than that, its a tough read. Not too exciting.
Date published: 2010-10-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Book King Joao III of Portugal gave Archduke Maximilian an unusual wedding present: an elephant named Solomon and his trainer, Subhro. The story is about the journey from Lisbon to Vienna that was witnessed and remarked upon by scholars, historians, and ordinary people. Once the elephant is delivered, by ship, Archduke Maximilian changes the identity of the trainer (now named Fritz) and the elephant (now named Suleiman), as they are no longer live in India. Fritz falls out of favor with the archduke by increasing his income through a money making scam of selling elephant hair to grow human hair,which the archduke shuts down immediately. I love the descriptions used throughout such as ‘the scenery changing from discreet, gentle to one so violent that the mountains look like they have gone through apocalyptic fractures’. The journey through the Isarco Pass is dangerous with avalanches falling all around the caravan. Even Suleiman is scared. Once the caravan arrives in Vienna, a parade is held to show off the elephant. Once again Suleiman performs a miracle. The people love him almost as much as they love the archduke. Point of view was third person.
Date published: 2010-07-04

– More About This Product –

The Elephant's Journey: A Novel

by Jose Saramago

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 224 pages, 8.5 × 5.75 × 0.75 in

Published: September 6, 2011

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0547352581

ISBN - 13: 9780547352589

About the Book

In 1551, King Joao III of Portugal gave Archduke Maximilian an unusual wedding present: an elephant named Solomon. The elephant's journey from Lisbon to Vienna was witnessed and remarked upon by scholars, historians, and ordinary people--and serves as the foundation for this witty tale of friendship and adventure.

Read from the Book

Strange though it may seem to anyone unaware of the importance of the marital bed in the efficient workings of public administration, regardless of whether that bed has been blessed by church or state or no one at all, the first step of an elephant''s extraordinary journey to austria, which we propose to describe hereafter, took place in the royal apartments of the portuguese court, more or less at bedtime. And it is no mere accident that we chose to use the vague expression more or less. For this enables us, with admirable elegance, to avoid having to go into details of a physical and physiological nature, often sordid and almost always ridiculous, and which, set down on paper, would offend the strict catholicism of dom joão the third, king of portugal and of the algarves, and of dona catarina of austria, his wife and the future grandmother of the same dom sebastião who will go off to lead the attack on alcácer-quibir and die there during the first assault, or perhaps the second, although there are also those who say he died of an illness on the eve of battle. This is what the king, with furrowed brow, said to the queen, I''m worried about something, my lady, About what, my lord, The gift we gave to our cousin maximilian at the time of his marriage four years ago always seemed to me unworthy of his lineage and his merits, and now that we have him close to home, so to speak, in his role as regent of spain in the city of valladolid, I would like to offer him something more val
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From the Publisher

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.

About the Author

JOSÉ SARAMAGO (1922-2010) was the author of many novels, among themBlindness, All the Names, Baltasar and Blimunda,andThe Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis.In 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Editorial Reviews

"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."
-- GQ

"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

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