Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magic Realism at its Best., 29 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Stone Raft (Panther) (Paperback)
Jose Saramago is an author whose novels I have enjoyed, particularly Seeing and Blindness and even though The Stone Raft was written almost 20 years ago, I only picked it up recently. This is a fantasy novel with a gripping plot and interesting characters. The basic premise is simple i.e. the Iberian peninsula breaks off from mainland Europe and starts to drift off into the Atlantic. A motley crew comprising 5 humans and a dog set out on this journey together finding many exciting adventures on their way. These characters have experienced extremely odd incidents related to the breaking away of the the peninsula.

The plot of The Stone Raft is undoubtedly outlandish but there are two strands to this novel i.e. the fantastical tale of the drifting peninsula and then the story of the relationships and friendships formed between the five people and the dog; their tragedies and triumphs, the loves they share and the loves they cannot sustain. In a way the latter strand is what goes to the heart of this story and its philosophical musings. After all, is not every story about the characters and their interactions with each other. Too often in tales of magical realism the events are presented as the only remarkable facts and the human elements are neglected but Saramago manages to make his characters matter and their human stories are what set this novel apart from many others in the genre.

Saramago is a gifted and hugely intelligent writer and there are political aspects to this story that I could not begin to unravel; he employs a specific prose style and the many institutions of state e.g., governments, police, armies are portrayed as far from perfect and less than competent or altruistic.

A hugely entertaining and highly recommended read.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Jan 2014 10:25:20 GMT
Gawney Mac says:
What a lovely succinct summary - it has certainly wheeted my appetite for this novel and the author too!

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jan 2014 14:46:39 GMT
Pigwin says:
I can thoroughly recommend Blindness and the sequel (although both novels are capable of standing alone) Seeing. The Double is a very dark but gripping story beautifully told.
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