The Elephant's Journey: A Novel

Kobo eBook available

read instantly on your Kobo or tablet.

buy the ebook now

The Elephant's Journey: A Novel

by Jose Saramago

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | September 6, 2011 | Hardcover

The Elephant's Journey: A Novel is rated 4 out of 5 by 9.

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

save 73%

  • Out of stock online
$29.95 list price

$7.99 ea online

This item is eligible for FREE SHIPPING on orders over $25.
See details

Easy, FREE returns. See details

Item can only be shipped in Canada

Downloads instantly to your kobo or other ereading device. See details

All available formats:

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
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A True Master Saramago proves once again why he is the Master. This particular offering revolves around a man named Tertuliano Maximo Aphonso and his discovery of another man who is his double and his search to meet this man. The story is told in true Saramago style, with character's dialogue separated only by commas, for example. It is easy to get attached to the main character and the people in his life, including Common Sense. The story does include an interesting twist at the end. The Double is a great read, one ofmy favorites from this fantastic author.
Date published: 2009-05-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The same great Saramago One more masterpiece from Saramago; once you discover his style, you just fall in love with it and find simple phrasing a bit boring. The subject in "The Double" is not new in world's literature but Saramago just knows to make it original in his own way.
Date published: 2008-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing!! Don't be discouraged by first 50 pages! Since I read Blindness by Jose Saramago, I have been on the lookout for more of his works. Blindness is one of my favourite books and one that I think everyone should read at some point in their life. These works are translated from Portuguese and Saramago has a Nobel prize for his literary works. Tertuliano Maximo Afonso is a history teacher with depression. In hopes of making him feel better, his colleague recommends a comedic movie. Afonso rents this movie, doesn't think too highly of it, and goes to sleep. In the middle of the night, he wakes up with an odd feeling. The movie is playing on his tv and someone that looks exactly like him is acting as the hotel receptionist in the movie. These two don't just look like each other - they are identical. Even their voice is exactly the same. Afonso sets to find out who this man is. When he finally tracks him down, the two engage in a tale of bitterness, revenge, happiness, and finding out who they really are. True to Saramago style, the novel is written with very few paragraphs and periods. All conversations are separated only by a comma. It takes a while to get into this and is difficult to read at first, but don't let this stop you from finishing any of Saramago's works! While I felt that part of the books had been dragged out a bit - for example, there were too many conversations with "common sense" - all that was completely forgiven by the incredible ending! One doesn't really expect twists except in mystery novels, so I was completely shocked by this one! Wow! One of the best-ended books I've ever read!
Date published: 2008-04-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great! Not as good as Blindness (from my opinion, hence the 4 stars), but definitely an original piece of work. It shows how Democracies can become the most dangerous dictatorships, a puzzling idea taking in account the events that surround us in the present day. An amazing satire which shows the general ineffectiveness of world governments and the dormant power of the people. It shows how real revolutions can still occur in the 21st century. Saramago has created yet another masterpiece.
Date published: 2006-04-09
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Awful.... highly disappointing Disappointing to say the least. I read (ie. suffered) through over 100 pages of this book and finally could take no more. I was extremely disappointed because I love Jose Saramago's work and have read 4 of his previous novels. I was expecting another great novel. The premise is very interesting in that the main character is watching a video and see's an actor who looks, speaks and acts like him. However the book is filled with the author talking to the reader about points which do nothing but drag on the story, which after 100 pages could have been summed up in about 10-15 pages. HIGHLY disappointing! Read Blindness instead.
Date published: 2005-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant The Stone Raft is good enough to restore ones faith in the power of literature. Jose Saramago seems to have remembered that the basis of any great novel is the story. And this is a great story. One day, the Iberian Peninsula shears off from the European continent and begins to drift across the Atlantic Ocean. A diverse group of Portugese and Spaniards wander across the "island" searching for answers as to why this has occured. What they find are the answers to many important and difficult questions. Fortunately, the "point" of the story never gets in the way of what is a great adventure. Touching, gripping, eye opening and hugely entertaining, this is one of the best novels I have read in years.
Date published: 2000-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great bedtime story I loved this book. In fact, as I waited for my husband, I began reading this book in a Chapters store and couldn't put it down. I bought it even though I finished reading it. It will make a great bedtime story when I have children to read it to...
Date published: 2000-02-08

– More About This Product –

The Elephant's Journey: A Novel

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
read more read less

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 them Blindness, All the Names, Baltasar and Blimunda, and The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis. In 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

MARGARET JULL COSTA has established herself as the premier translator of Portuguese literature into English today.

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