Baltasar and Blimunda

Jose Saramago, Author, Giovanni Pontiero, Translator
Jose Saramago, Author, Giovanni Pontiero, Translator Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $17.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-15-110555-7
Reviewed on: 09/30/1987
Release date: 10/01/1987
Saramago has blended fact and fiction in much the same way as Marquez and others use magical realism, to create an elegantly written, surrealistic reflection on life in 18th century Portugal. It is a time of astonishing excessautos-da-fe, the Inquisition, an outbreak of the plague, colonialismand the two central characters, Baltasar, a soldier just home from the wars, and Blimunda, a clairvoyant who can actually see inside people, are enlisted by the renegade priest, Bartolomeu Lourenco de Gusmao, to help him construct a flying machine. (A mad genius, Bartolomeu actually existed and is now considered a pioneer of aviation.) The machine does fly, but with disastrous consequences for all involved. This is a dark, philosophical tale that shows off the talents of Portugal's premier contemporary writer. (October)
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