All About Books Book Review

José Saramago’s The Elephant Journey #BookReview #AtoZChallenge

The Elephant’s Journey is Solomon, the elephant’s story. The Portuguese King Joao III gifts Solomon to the Archduke Maximillian. This means the poor animal has to travel by foot from Lisbon to Vienna, crossing the Alps – the only option transporting a large animal, back in those days. Solomon sets out on his journey with his mahout Subhro. What happens on the journey and after they reach Vienna?

The Elephant’s Journey by Jose Saramago was a gift from a friend, about six years ago. I couldn’t get past the first page because there was no punctuation or quotation marks and the sentences went on and on. I had to try really hard to understand the conversation and finally gave up. A few days ago though, I decided to take it up, mostly because I remembered the friend and what he said when he gifted the book to me, “It is witty and humourous. You’d love it!”

This time around, I gave it my all, in spite of the hectic A to Z Challenge and moving homes, I managed to finish this incredible book. Once I got used to his unique writing style where paragraphs lasted for a few pages, I started enjoying the book.

Subro the Mahaut and Solomon the Elephant embark on the journey with Portuguese soldiers and then continue on the long road with the Archduke and his soldiers who are returning to Vienna themselves after a three-year sojourn in Spain. Subro is baffled by the reaction of people he meets on the way – the various interpretations of the sudden appearance of an elephant in their lives. Of course, not many has seen an elephant back in those days. I do not want to divulge more for you gotta read this book.

A short read of about two-hundred-odd pages, Jose Saramago’s writing style is fun and quirky. The translator (from Portuguese to English) has done a great job for his unique style and sense of observation is beautifully captured. The protagonist of the story is an outsider and speaks to the reader directly with anachronisms. But then there were times when I wondered if he also went on that journey with the elephant.

A touching story of friendship and adventure, The Elephant’s Journey also depicts in detail the human nature. Poignant and satirical, it is a delightful read and I’d definitely recommend this book!

That’s all for now!
Let me know your favorite Translated works?
I hope you’ll drop by tomorrow too.

My theme for the A to Z Challenge this year is ‘Celebrating the Bibliophile in me’, where I would share the books, authors and fictional characters that I love, loathe and tolerate.
Ah, there could be more!
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