The Stone Raft

Paperback | February 1, 2001

byJose Saramago

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When the Iberian Peninsula breaks free of Europe and begins to drift across the North Atlantic, five people are drawn together on the newly formed island-first by surreal events and then by love. 'A splendidly imagined epic voyage? a fabulous fable' (Kirkus Reviews). Translated by Giovanni Pontiero.

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From Our Editors

When the earth suddenly cracks open and the Iberian Peninsula splits from Europe and drifts off into the Atlantic Ocean, people escape the coastal areas to roam, incoherent, across the island. A group of strangers end up in the home of Maria Guavaira: Joaquim Sassa, who found himself in Maria's bed; Joana Carda, who cut the earth in tw...

From the Publisher

When the Iberian Peninsula breaks free of Europe and begins to drift across the North Atlantic, five people are drawn together on the newly formed island-first by surreal events and then by love. 'A splendidly imagined epic voyage? a fabulous fable' (Kirkus Reviews). Translated by Giovanni Pontiero.

From the Jacket

Joana Carda scratches the ground with an elm branch and the mute dogs of Cerbere begin to bark, portending doom. The earth cracks open and the Iberian peninsula separates from Europe and floats off into the Atlantic. The people flee the coastal areas in a mass exodus, to wander, disoriented, across the floating, spinning island's inter...

JOSE 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.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:300 pages, 8 × 5.25 × 0.7 inPublished:February 1, 2001Publisher:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0156004011

ISBN - 13:9780156004015

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From Our Editors

When the earth suddenly cracks open and the Iberian Peninsula splits from Europe and drifts off into the Atlantic Ocean, people escape the coastal areas to roam, incoherent, across the island. A group of strangers end up in the home of Maria Guavaira: Joaquim Sassa, who found himself in Maria's bed; Joana Carda, who cut the earth in two; Jose Anaico, the king of the starlings; and Pedro Orce, who can make the earth tremble with his feet. At once a grand adventure and an apt political story about ever changing Europe, The Stone Raft is an absorbing novel. José Saramago is a Nobel Prize-winning author.

Editorial Reviews

In this charming Portuguese political fable by the author of The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, pandemonium occurs when the Iberian peninsula breaks loose (literally) and goes charging off into the North Atlantic. Bureaucrats fret because the errant land mass is speeding straight toward the Azores; the Government of National Salvation plots to avoid impending disaster, but the former peninsula has its own agenda. Meanwhile, five Iberian residents separately experience assorted phenomena they believe are connected to the rupture. (One makes an ineradicable line in the earth, another becomes a human seismograph, another unravels a neverending sock, etc.) Through a series of coincidences and the efforts of a mute and nameless dog, the five find each other and begin a gypsy-like peregrination to make sense of the peninsula's fractious behavior. At times an unexpected darkness intrudes on these proceedings-Saramago heckles his characters occasionally for no discernible reason-and the conclusion seems abrupt, its somber notes ringing false. However, the political reaction to this geological mishap is marvelously amusing-and greatly enhanced by the author's nimble prose and random metaphysical touches.