The Tale of the Unknown Island by José Saramago download in pdf, ePub, iPad
Saramago is profoundly Portuguese, and Portugal is a country whose maritime history is not only important but decisive. There is a lengthy satirical buildup, yet, right when it seems the story could set off towards a wonderful adventure, the epiphany occurs and the story rapidly comes to an end. Set in an unidentified land in an unspecified time, the story tells of a man petitioning the king for a boat to find the unknown island. He slips in the thoughtful look just when the reader least suspects it, only to find the mind galloping off to work out the hidden truth behind innocent words. Much though I am tempted to reproduce the entire short and sweet text before you, I will refrain and instead have you glimpse at just another passage.
It is conclusive, but the message comes suddenly and made me wonder if it was originally intended to be a novella. Harcourt will simultaneously issue the paperback edition of Blindness. In summary, Saramago has written a wonderful fairy tale of self-belief, optimism, and love.
Saramago being a victim of censorship from the Portuguese government and akin to challenges to the established order takes time in his stories to voice his opinions regarding them. The blaze in the sky was dying down, the waters grew suddenly purple, not even the cleaning woman could doubt that the sea really is dark, at least at certain times of the day. Saramago had a gift for delivering such potent messages in such a simple manner, focusing a vast array of complex ideas into a simple parable that easily penetrates to your heart. Even at its simplest, Saramago's writing tilts at deeper meanings.
Another example is the man and his optimism which is a metaphor to continue to believe. Through his character of the man and his belief in the unknown island, he has created a story for all to read and share. Once on the boat the man tries to find a crew to help them on their voyage but is met only by the same doubtfulness of unknown islands as the king by sailors and harbour masters alike.
Saramago's finish is wholly in keeping with the playful, whimsical spirit of his story. He had a unique style, and a sweet simplicity that reminds me of a more intellectual and literary version of Paulo Coelho.
Even when the king tries to persuade the man that all islands are known, the man persists in his belief and is granted the boat he is after. When he uses direct speech he does so without quotation marks or indentations. His fiction invariably has a political twist. The story has just enough time to make one complete circle without too many twists and turns. The use of these tools gives the story greater meaning and makes it more positive in its reading.