NEW NOVEL BY JOSÉ SARAMAGO: “A Viagem do Elefante” (“Journey of the Elephant”)

José Saramago has a new novel out in Portugal. The 5 to 18 November 2008 issue (Year XXVIII, No 994) of the Lisbon publication JL (Jornal de Letras, Artes e Ideias) offered readers a seven-page special on the Nobel-winning author, previewing the 3 December launch in the Portuguese capital of his novel "A Viagem do Elefante" ("Journey of the Elephant") (the book is being concurrently launched in Brazil).


The main item in this JL special was a long interview (pp. 14-16) with the author by Maria Leonor Nunes (‘José Saramago: Una homenagem à Língua Portuguesa’ – ‘José Saramago: a homage to the Portuguese language’).


Saramago explains that this novel has, generically speaking, more of humour, allegory and fantasy than anything he has published before: ‘É o humor em estado puro’ – ‘It’s hunour in its pure state’ – 14; ‘é simplesmente uma invenção’ – ‘it’s simply an invention’ – 15). At the same time, Saramago wishes his reader to see his new book through the stylistic prism, as ‘una homenagem à Língua Portuguesa’ – (‘a homage to the Portuguese language’ (16). His narrative is, however, grounded in a historical fact: it so happened in the sixteenth century that an elephant called Salomão (Solomon) made the journey from Lisbon to Vienna (16)

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