Monday, August 16, 2010

P is for Potugal

I chose to read Baltasar and Blimunda by Jose Saramago for my P entry for Alphabet in Historical Fiction. The book is set in Portugal during the 1700's.

Here's the blurb:
Portugal, 1711: an amorous friar is pursued naked through the rubble-strwn streets of Lisbon; an enthusiastic procession of flagellants roars with pleasure over the damnation of adultery; a royal prince uses hapless sailors for target practice; and women dressed in colorful finery watch as lapsed converts and sorcerers are put to death by flames. In the midst of the terrors of the Inquisition and the plague, a seemingly mismatched couple discovers the wonders of love. This poetic tale, graced with exquisite historical detail and full of magic and adventure, is a tapestry of human folly and human will.

I'm probably going to sound like a broken record but it seems like I always repeat myself when I read a novel by Jose Saramago. It took me a while to get into the story because of my need to get used to the language, the size of the sentences and the characters dialogue. And once that happens the book was a pleasure to read.

The author is an amazing story teller, and I was hooked, I wanted to know more about Blimunda and Baltasar and Padre Bartolomeu Lourenco and I loved reading about the Royal exploits. The book had everything, it was funny, sad, sensual, thought provoking and it was all set during true historical events. I feel like I have a connection to this book, I've been to that convent in Mafra, and actually it's one of my favourites places to visit when I'm in Portugal. Knowing the background of the construction along with the fictional re-telling of the events was quite an experience.

Baltasar and Blimunda by Jose Saramago (4.5/5) Historical Fiction; Translated from the Portuguese by Giovanni Pontiero; Published as Memorial do Convento in 1982 by Editorial Caminho; Published: Harcourt Brace 1987; 1001 You Must Read (80); Year of the Historical (11); Alphabet Historical Challenge (16); Books 2010 (76);

No comments: