Complete Review pointed this out as well, but the Independent has an article by Elizabeth Nash about the latest Saramago book, The Elephant’s Journey:
Portugal’s Nobel Literature laureate Jose Saramago has announced the completion of his latest work “The Elephant’s Journey”, based on the real-life epic journey of an Indian elephant named Solomon who travelled from Lisbon to Vienna in the 16th century.
Saramago’s achievement marks a rebirth for the veteran writer, 86, whose flagging health, for which he received hospital treatment late last year, sounded alarm bells in the literary world.
The author describes the book as “a story rather than a novel”. It will be published shortly in Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan, and opens with the line: “However incongruous it may seem . . .”
This sounds pretty promising, and will hopefully be translated into English in the next year or so.
In other Portuguese literary news, the latest Antonio Lobo Antunes book What Can I Do When Everything’s On Fire? is now available in bookstores everywhere. I started reading this the other day and am pretty amazed. It’s a bleak book, but the style is incredible and innovative. At first glance, it looks like a prose poem, with lines abruptly breaking off, voices from various characters and times intruding on the protagonist’s consciousness, sudden italics. But as you start to read it, things become clear (or at least comprehensible) very quickly, and this strange style creates a nicely textured novel.
Prose translators will likely disagree, but I believe translating poetry requires a significant level of talent, a commitment to the text, and near mania, all of which suggests that the undertaking is the greatest possible challenge. The task is to. . .
The biggest issues with books like The Subsidiary often have to do with their underpinnings—when we learn that Georges Perec wrote La Disparition without once using the letter E, we are impressed. Imagine such a task! It takes a high. . .
Following The Infatuations, Javier Marías’s latest novel seems, like those that have preceded it, an experiment to test fiction’s capacity to mesmerize with sombre-sexy atmospheres and ruminative elongated sentences stretched across windowless walls of paragraphs. Thus Bad Begins offers his. . .
Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in. . .
Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the. . .
We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .