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The Stone Raft ()

Nobel Prize Winners (1998)

By way of a metaphor that's as subtle as a train wreck--the Iberian Peninsula shears off from the European land mass and starts floating out to sea--the Portuguese Nobelist Jose Saramago assays the isolation of Portugal and Spain from the rest of Europe and, for that matter, from the rest of the world.  The new island drifts first towards America then South; at one point it rotates; but for the most part it just seems to be adrift.  Of course, the oddest thing about all this is that the book was published just as Spain and Portugal were formally joining the European Community and officially ending their years in the wilderness.

If Mr. Saramago has a coherent point here it was too nuanced for one as literal as I.  And since I didn't much care for the group of characters that he follows, I did not care for the book.  It seemed like a mildly clever idea for a short story that went nowhere and did so at too great length.


Grade: (D+)


Book-related and General Links:
    -Jose Saramago (1922-)(kirjasto)
    -Jose Saramago (Official Nobel Site)
    -Jose Saramago Winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature (Nobel Prize Internet Archive)
    -LECTURE : Jose Saramago - Keynote speech at UMass-Dartmouth
    -EXCERPT : Chapter One of  BLINDNESS  By Jose Saramago
    -PROFILE : NOBEL PRIZE WINNER (Online News Hour, PBS,  October 9, 1998)
    -ARTICLE : Portugal's Jose Saramago wins Nobel Literature Prize (CNN)
    -ARTICLE : Author Saramago of Portugal wins Nobel Prize for Literature (Michael D. Schaffer, Philadelphia Inquirer)
    -ESSAY : On the Idea of Europe : Second thoughts on the drive for cultural unity, from a once-devout Europhile. (Lindsay Waters, Boston Review)
    -ESSAY : SO YOU WANT TO WIN A NOBEL PRIZE (BLAKE MORRISON, October 1, 1995, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of Stone Raft by Jose Saramago Enchanted prose : Saramago's style is a cross between the late Thomas Bernhard and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He is the live proof that magic realism doesn't begin and end with One Hundred Years of Solitude. (Bondo Wyszpolski, Brazzil)
    -REVIEW : of The Stone Raft (Bob Corbett)
    -REVIEW : of ALL THE NAMES By Jose Saramago (RICHARD EDER, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of ALL THE NAMES By Jose Saramago (Robert Irwin, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of ALL THE NAMES By Jose Saramago (Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World)
    -REVIEW : of All the Names by Jose Saramago (Adam Langer, Book Magazine)
    -REVIEW : of The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis By Jose Saramago (HERBERT MITGANG, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of BALTASAR AND BLIMUNDA. By Jose Saramago (Walter Goodman, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of BALTASAR AND BLIMUNDA By Jose Saramago (Irving Howe, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of BLINDNESS By Jose Saramago (Andrew Miller, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of BLINDNESS by Jose Saramago (James Wood, New Republic)
    -REVIEW : of Blindness (Jesse Barret, Salon)
    -REVIEW : of The History of the Siege of Lisbon By Jose Saramago (Edmund White, NY Times Book Review)


The book is obviously critcizing the joining of the EU, which you seemed to fail to see.

- Rich

- Dec-02-2002, 22:18