A few months after the family moved to the capital, his brother Francisco, older by two years, died. He spent vacations with his grandparents in Azinhaga. When his grandfather suffered a stroke and was to be taken to Lisbon for treatment, Saramago recalled, "He went into the yard of his house, where there were a few trees, fig trees, olive trees. And he went one by one, embracing the trees and crying, saying good-bye to them because he knew he would not return.
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Shelves: portuguese-lit , lusofonos Take the long way home In those old days way before smart phones and Google maps, one read a travel guide book to learn something about the place you just found along the road. You want some historical facts, maybe a funny anecdote and a little relevance as to why this place is in the guide book in the first place.
Sometimes it helps; sometimes, not. So what if your guide book was written by a Nobel laureate? Is it a better guide? Are the anecdotes better? I could be cynical and say, its all Take the long way home Well for one, and having been to Portugal, there are a lot of churches, castles and places to stop for lunch.
But they are so good there. Democracy is still young and the country is very poor. He begins, in the far northeast, Tras-do-montes, made famous much later in The High Mountains of Portugal.
Saramago is quick to point out he is not a tourist, but a traveler. To travel is to discover; a tourist only encounters. Admission was either free or make a donation. Ask a local. Saramago asked a lot of questions, observed, got lost, met some odd encounters and documented his native Portugal.
He is a well-known atheist and yet he was fascinated by all those churches. Very similar to Julian Barnes too. He was also a well known communist and only once did he visit a collective in the Alentejo. But his fascination for his country shows. This comes as an odd review. I think for many, it can be a little dated and maybe a little boring. Easily a three star rating. For me it was the opposite.
His good humour keeps me entertained. And there are so many places I still need to see. And interestingly he calls Casa do bicos in Lisboa one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. Years later his Foundation would be located in this house, and having visited it, I heartily agree with him.
As a Saramago fan, I am too biased. It was a fun journey, one that I made in his own language too. And with that I can only thank him for such a pleasurable, long way home. And when ready, the traveler gladly carries on the journey. Vila Real do Mateus, p. E Nossa Senhora do Enjeito Egito. Ou serviu a que da escarpa foi retirada brutalmente para abrir a plataforma onde se cavaram os alicerces.
Castelo Pena, Sintra, p.
Viagem a Portugal (1981)
Viagem a Portugal