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When José Saramago decided some twenty years ago to write a book about Portugal, his only desire was that it be unlike all other books on the subject, and in this he has certainly succeeded. Recording the events and observations of a journey across the length and breadth of the country he loves dearly, Saramago brings Portugal to life as only a writer of his brilliance can. Forfeiting sources of information such as tourist guides and road maps, he scours the country with the eyes and ears of an observer fascinated by the ancient myths and history of his people. Whether an inaccessible medieval fortress set on a cliff, a wayside chapel thick with cobwebs, or a grand mansion in the city, the extraordinary places of this land come alive with kings, warriors, painters, explorers, writers, saints, and sinners. Always meticulously attentive to those elements of ancient Portugal that persist today, Saramago examines the country in its current period of rapid transition and growth. Infused with the tenderness and intelligence that have become familiar to his readers, Saramago's Journey to Portugal is an ode of love for a country and its rich traditions.
Beginning on the eve of the 2008 US presidential election, The Notebook evokes life in Saramago's beloved Lisbon, revisits conversations with friends, and offers meditations on the author's favorite writers. Precise observations and moments of arresting significance are rendered with pointillist detail, and together demonstrate an acute understanding of our times. Characteristically critical and uncompromising, Saramago dissects the financial crisis, deplores Israel's punishment of Gaza, and reflects on the rise of Barack Obama. The Notebook is a unique journey into the personal and political world of one of the greatest writers of our time.
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