: Stone raft, the (9781860467219) : Jose Saramago : Books
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Stone Raft, The

by Jose Saramago
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Product Details

  • Publisher: The Harvill Press
  • Publishing date: 01/06/2000
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9781860467219
  • ISBN: 1860467210


One day a rift opens along the border between Spain and France, and the Iberian peninsula floats off across the Atlantic, a great stone raft. But what of the floating population? While the tourists and investors flee, the Spanish and Portuguese escape the coast and wander the inland roads.

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  • Moving worlds with a touch of magic
    From Amazon

    Perfection may not be of this world, but in Saramago's "Stone Raft" it happens: without as much as a sigh, the Iberian peninsula separates itself neatly from the European continent and steers for mid-ocean on an uncompromisingly linear course. The geophysics of this separation remain unintelligble: it is a true miracle that suspends a small part of humanity into a state of grace. So the world moves but time seems to come to a standstill and an eery stillness descends over this vast chunk of land. Saramago singles out five individuals and a dog from the crowd and lets them join up. As in a morality play, the personalities of these chosen ones remain highly stylised. In fact, we learn to distinguish between the five of them not so much by their personal histories and idiosynchrasies of character - of which we know very little - but by quirky episodes in each of their lives roughly synchronous with the onset of the peninsular separation. The state of grace initially leads to a benign state of nature. The three men, two women and their guardian angel-dog start to wander over the peninsula, cherishing memories of the events that brought them together, and finding deep, if only precarious, satisfaction in the relationships that unfold. Saramago lets the air crackle and the earth tremble with anticipation. Masterly he kneads the ebb and flow of the energy field enveloping this lot. An occasional minor miracle comes to pass. The end, however, is a fairly sordid affair. Hope wafts in from beyond the horizon and the sense of mystery vanishes. In a brief, but hauntingly beautiful episode we take our final leave of one the protagonists. Whatever happens after that, we don't know.

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