Tuesday, August 28, 2012
The Elephant's Journey
The Elephant's Journey was recommended to me by one of David's family members. This relative knew that I had really enjoyed Water for Elephants and had heard that this was really good. After all, the author is a Nobel Prize winner.
The premise of this book is actually a true story. Back in the mid-1500s, the king of Portugal gifts the newly married Archduke of Austria with an unusual wedding present: an elephant (and his keeper). This book follows the tale of this elephant along with his keeper from one end of the continent to another, in pursuit of their new home.
Like almost any book covering true events this long ago, the author had to fill in bits and pieces so that the story flowed well. Because of this, the book is considered a novel, not a true story. But, I feel that Saramago does a pretty good job of keeping to what probably really happened. A lot of what occurs within the storyline I could see being documented record.
Honestly, this book was not my favorite. It's very short (200ish pages) and the story is cute, but the translation leaves much to be desired. While the translation won an award, the punctuation and dialogue format was hard to read. There were virtually no paragraphs and you had to piece together where a sentence probably ended in most places; lots of run-on sentences. If the story had been properly edited and printed, I would have enjoyed it much more. Overall, I'd probably give it a C...which I hate since I know that it's received accolades and the author is an award winner. Oh well, it just wasn't my thing.
Do you ever read an award-winning book or watch an Oscar-winning movie and just not get what all the brouhaha is about?