From the misty mountains of the north to the southern seascape of the Algarve, the travels of Nobel Laureate Jose Saramago are a passionate rediscovery of his own land.
Setting off in his veteran motor car, Saramago wants to travel to Portugal, as well as through it: by making it his destination the acclaimed writer hopes to take stock of his native land as it hovers on the edge of the modern world. He is no typical guide - he avoids the 'sights' in favour of a remote Romanesque church, a cobweb-ridden chapel, the local and the domestic - but, with his deep fount of memory and erudite knowledge, each encounter evoking the span of Portugal's history, he is anyone's idea of a delightful travelling companion.
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No portico, farmhouse or ancient church is left undisturbed in Saramago's readable, if labyrinthine, tale of travelling across his homeland in 1979 - Independent
None but a Portuguese could have written this book; none but Saramago could produce travel writing like this. It is a wholly appropriate tribute to that astonishing juncture where the sea ends and the land begins - New Statesman
A book that...is a search for his country's heartbeat... The writing is, as always with Saramago, dense: a labyrinth of meaning and innuendo. But what is clear is that he loves Portugal. - Independent on Sunday
One feels privileged to be in his company... This book is a joy to pick up and a delight to read - Tablet
Born in Portugal in 1922, José Saramago was one of the most important writers of his generation. He was in his fifties when he came to prominence as a novelist with the publication of Baltasar & Blimunda. A huge body of work followed, which included plays, poetry, short stories, non-fiction and over a dozen novels, including Blindness which was made into an acclaimed film. He has been translated into more than forty languages, and in 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died on 18 June 2010, shortly after the Portuguese publication of Cain.