The Tale of the Unknown Island

( 8 )

Overview

A man went to knock at the king's door and said, Give me a boat. The king's house had many other doors, but this was the door for petitions. Since the king spent all his time sitting at the door for favors (favors being offered to the king, you understand), whenever he heard someone knocking at the door for petitions, he would pretend not to hear . . ." Why the petitioner required a boat, where he was bound for, and who volunteered to crew for him, the reader will discover in this delightful fable, a philosophic ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$9.99
BN.com price
(Save 8%)$10.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (37) from $1.99   
  • New (13) from $3.88   
  • Used (24) from $1.99   
The Tale of the Unknown Island

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99
BN.com price
(Save 8%)$10.95 List Price

Overview

A man went to knock at the king's door and said, Give me a boat. The king's house had many other doors, but this was the door for petitions. Since the king spent all his time sitting at the door for favors (favors being offered to the king, you understand), whenever he heard someone knocking at the door for petitions, he would pretend not to hear . . ." Why the petitioner required a boat, where he was bound for, and who volunteered to crew for him, the reader will discover in this delightful fable, a philosophic love story worthy of Swift or Voltaire.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Bill Marx
...a perfumed breath, a sweetly tart satire that finds utopia in the head trips of its beholders.
Boston Globe
Justin D. Coffin
...a fable with the resonance of a story that might have been called from our memory...It's a carefully wrought story that feels like our own dream.
Philadelphia Inquirer
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature, Saramago (History of the Siege of Lisbon) departs from his signature dense, inventive linguistic style and historically encompassing subjects to offer a simple, intriguing fable. This short, illustrated book begins as a fairy tale with a decidedly political inflection: an unnamed man waits by the king's door for petitions, a door the king neglects because he's occupied at the door for favors ("favors being offered to the king, you understand"). The man's tenacity happily coincides with the monarch's fear of a popular revolt, which results in the king begrudgingly granting the man a seaworthy boat with which he can sail to find "the unknown island." A philosophical discussion about whether such an island exists or is findable precedes the king's acquiescence, and the reader understands that the man is a dreamer, with bold imagination and will. The king's cleaning woman also intuits this, and she leaves the palace to join the man in his adventure. The two would-be explorers claim the boat, only to realize they have no provisions or crew. They elude despair with a celebratory meal and a burgeoning romance. Whether the vessel, newly christened The Unknown Island, ever finds its destination remains a mystery, but a crucial and tender suggestion persists: follow your dream and your dream will follow. More cynical readers may interpret the moral as "be careful what you wish for; you might get it." At the book's close, the man tosses in a dream marked with a desperate yearning for the cleaning woman and filled with images of lush flora and fauna thriving in the boat. Saramago tells his deceptively plain tale in simple prose studded with the dialogue of endearingly innocent characters; readers, dreamers and lovers will detect the psychological, romantic and social subtexts. (Nov.) FYI: Harcourt will simultaneously issue the paperback edition of Blindness. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
A Nobel prize winner's fable about a man who petitions an indolent king for a boat. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Max Winter
Weighing in at only 51 pages José Saramago's clever, allusive Tale of the Unknown Island may be one of the more spiritually engaging books published this year...this book comes as a bit of a surprise in its disarming brevity and deceptive sweetness.

Time Out New York

Kirkus Reviews
This richly enigmatic short story, published last year by Portugal's reigning Nobel laureate (Blindness, 1998, etc.), is a mischievous and thoughtful satire on ruling elites and bold dreamers, cast in the form of revisionist fairy-tale. One day an unidentified man knocks at the door of a royal castle and demands that its king (of a likewise unspecified country) give him a boat: "To go in search of the unknown island." The king at first protests that nothing unknown exists any longer (according to his royal geographers); but then, worn down by persistent petitioners—and in spite of himself piqued by the stranger's boldness—relents. The cleaning woman, who has overheard all, joins forces with the man (though a crew cannot be assembled), and their hopes of sailing away to this imprecise Xanadu or Shangri-la are resolved only by the man's complex concluding dream, in which this transparent parable of aspiration ("If you don't step outside yourself, you'll never discover who you are") opens into a vision (of their ship as "a forest that sails and bobs upon the waves") that assumes the dimensions of creation myth. This delightfully cryptic fiction incorporates vivid imagery, aphoristic concision, superbly wry dialogue, and subtly layered levels of meaning: it's variously "about" complacent bureaucracies resistant to change, visionaries who are both courageous enough to reach beyond and unable to see the mud below for the stars above, and—just possibly—Christopher Columbus's successful petition for the reluctant Spanish monarchy's support of his great adventure (in this respect, it is perhaps most closely related to Saramago's witty allegory The Stone Raft, 1995).The Swedes knew what they were doing when they honored Saramago. He may be the world's greatest living novelist.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780156013031
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/28/2000
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 297,283
  • Product dimensions: 4.82 (w) x 6.60 (h) x 0.18 (d)

Meet the Author

JOSÉ SARAMAGO (1922–2010) was the author of many novels, among them Blindness, All the Names, Baltasar and Blimunda, and The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis. In 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2008

    A Wonderful Day Dream

    I recieved this book as a gift, and I fell in love with it instantly. A very short read, but with a strong message. I have read it many times since first owning it and I have loaned it out to many friends and family. It is a very enjoyalbe read and makes you forget about all the mundane, everyday tasks, and allows you to take a nice break. ENJOY!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2001

    A brilliant short story

    A Saramago short story where everything is told in detail and where dialogs simply get you involved making the picture in you. Of course, it has very important messages contained. A great book for a gift! (and of course to read).

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2000

    Break from Reality

    This book was a great book. It allows us, as adults, to break from the seriousness drone of everyday life. 'Tale' is sort of children's book for adults. It allows our imagination to take freedom from its cage, and to spread its wings and take flight, even if for just a little while. Something that many adults forget to do.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)