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Journey to Portugal: In Pursuit of Portugal's History and Culture

3.38  ·  Rating Details  ·  400 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
When José Saramago decided some twenty years ago to write a book about Portugal, his only desire was that it be unlike all other books on the subject, and in this he has certainly succeeded. Recording the events and observations of a journey across the length and breadth of the country he loves dearly, Saramago brings Portugal to life as only a writer of his brilliance can ...more
Hardcover, 470 pages
Published March 25th 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 1990)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,345)
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Jun 20, 2015 ·Karen· marked it as will-come-back-to  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: portugal
Saramago is a congenial travel companion, although I have to admit to less of an interest in churches than he displays. Actually, than most people display.
It was over-ambitious of me to think that I would actually read all of this before travelling to Portugal, and maybe, maybe it was over-ambitious of Saramago to think that he could create something that was neither guide book nor travel book. Maybe, maybe it was my mistake to think that I could use something that wasn't meant as a guide book
Loc 109:
Em Miranda do Douro, por exemplo, ninguém seria capaz de se perder.

Loc 156:
Aqui (Cacarelhos) diz Camilo que nasceu o seu Calisto Eloi de Silos e Benevides de Barbuda, morgado de Agra de Freimas, heroi patego e patusco de "Queda Dum Ano", novela de muito riso e alguma melancolia.

Loc 227:
Eh em Azinhos, aldeiazinha perto (Mogadouro), que começa a nascer a paixão do viajante por este romântico rural do Norte.

Loc 240:
Em Castelo Branco, quinze quilómetros ao sul o ar parece ter passado por um
Dec 21, 2010 Tuck rated it liked it
this could be the most quirky travel book you will ever read. if you stick with it you will get in to his rhythm. the rhythm of a grumpy genius old man motoring around Portugal's back roads. if you get stuck behind him in a car it could take DAYS to pass him. If you talk to him in a bar or the cloister of a monastery if could change your life.
Frank O'connor
Dec 02, 2008 Frank O'connor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Saramago's gift for turning anything into a story shines through in this travelogue which even manages to make Portugal seem worth a visit. He has a way of nosing out the interesting: a town with an ancient statue of a pig on a column, for example. The man himself feels like a disagreeable travel comanion. He focuses largely on churches and castles, appears to shun companionship and the new - while remaining aloof and treating his surroundings with a slight air of pomposity.

Having written that,
Nov 11, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I started this while in Lisbon, but put it down pretty quickly. There's an arch quality to the narrator's voice that puts me off. He refers to himself as The Traveler throughout. I'm wondering if it's the translation, but whatever it is, I don't need to read anymore.
"Prenda il lettore, le pagine che seguono come sfida e invito. Faccia il proprio viaggio secondo un proprio progetto, presti minimo ascolto alla facilit degli itinerari comodi e frequentati, accetti di sbagliare strada e di tornare indietro, o, al contrario preservi fino ad inventare inusuali vie di uscita verso il mondo."

"Non vero . Il viaggio non finisce mai. Solo i viaggiatori finiscono......La fine di un viaggio solo l'inzio di un altro.....Bisogna ricominciare il viaggio. Sempre"
Primo lib

David J.
Mar 03, 2008 David J. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: half-read
I have tried to read this book twice, both times never making it past 30 pages or so.

I lived in Portugal for a little more than a year and a half, from 1998 to mid 1999. I love Portugal and the Portuguese, and was excited to read this book both times I tried. Maybe it is the narrative voice he uses. He speaks of himself in the unfamiliar third person.

Perhaps I will pick up the book in Portuguese and try it one more time. With how rusty my Portuguese is, I'm not optimistic of the results.
Aug 11, 2015 Marta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
José Saramago, o "viajante", leva-nos na mais completa viagem a Portugal, não só em termos de monumentos e tesouros artísticos e etnográficos, mas também ao nível de cada um dos cinco sentidos, puxando ainda pelo que devia ser o extra, sexto sentido de todos nós: a imaginação.
Apesar de o podermos considerar "ateu", o escritor faz descrições sensíveis e comovidas das mais belas igrejas com que o nosso país nos brinda (que, aparentemente, são imensas).
Além dos relatos do visto, a grande riqueza de
Questo libro è stato il compagno di viaggio delle mie vacanze in terra portoghese e viaggiare con un premio Nobel ha contribuito a rendere questo viaggio ancora più indimenticabile.

Il libro è il resoconto di uno straordinario viaggio fatto da Saramago tra le pieghe del suo paese. Con la sua tipica pignoleria, Jose ha architettato un lungo viaggio di scoperta che lo ha portato da nord a sud passando per località famose e paesini sconosciuti, incontrando persone e scoprendo storie e tradizioni. Qu
Alas I didn't finish this; although Saramago's affection for his country shines through, the travelogue aspect of it—going from one little town to another—was ultimately rather boring. It is a trip that I would more enjoy taking than reading about.
Cheryl Zaleski
Oct 23, 2012 Cheryl Zaleski rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Giving up on this one,at least for now. I'm bored out of my mind. Sorry, Saramago, but this is your first fail.
Feb 23, 2008 Aduren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“When the traveler awoke the day had scarcely dawn, and he observed that it was not only the river’s murmur which had disturbed him…”

This is a book for any traveler, but more important for the people that have some sort of sentimental attachment to Portugal, for the one that has traveled it, for the one that knows it, or for the one that want to know it. Down the Rio Douro, where the border with Spain is, the road trip begins. Saramago refers to himself as the traveler throughout the entire boo
Sep 09, 2011 Jasmeet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saramago, travel
“The journey is never over. Only travellers come to an end.”

Saramago ends this wonderful book on a note which is most most appropriate in the hands of a master storyteller. One really ‘feels priviledged’ in the company of a sensitive writer; sensitive to the place he belongs to, a place which is effortlessly shown to us to be more than just a place.
I had started Journey to Portugal a few months ago and I knew right away that it is just the way with this book. I literally savoured the description
Mar 21, 2013 Jacquie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
I did not like this. This not as a travel guide, which was stated at the outset by Jose Saramago, and I read it with this in mind. However, I was disappointed. Whether this was due to the "lost in translation" from Portuguese to English, or the style, or both, I'm not sure. The third person use of "the traveller" through the book fell flat with me, and took out the personal touch that I thought I was going to be reading. The other major put-off was the soliloquy to the fishes when the author cro ...more
Alberto González Ortiz
El lector, en este caso, se pierde por lugares que apenas conoce de oídas, y en sus iglesias y plazas se para casi corriendo por la falta de interés en lo que se cuenta pero maravillado en el cómo (El amargo despertar).
Kelly Buntin
I am about a quarter of the way through right now ( 17 Agosto '10 ). Savoring every sentence as I wish to explore Portugal someday on a leisurely tour. Since I check books out from the public library system, I am going to have to return this tome. I am concurrently reading José Saramago's Stone Raft. This too , from the library system. I can see that both books I must purchase as I do not want to rush through them or feel the tick of the due date clock ticking. His writing style really excites m ...more
Apr 28, 2013 Eduardo rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Fue muy aburrido.

Sufrí demasiado, Creo que ya he tenido suficiente de Saramago para toda mi vida, no es una guía de viaje, es, mejor dicho, la descripción de un viaje a Portugal por alguien obsesionado con la descripción que además abusa de las referencias.

No obstante, a pesar de ser excesivamente descriptivo de las situaciones usa sólo 6 o 7 palabras para describir los objetos que sí podrían ser importantes, las palabras se repiten muchísimo:

couldn't finish it - the style and details didn't cut it for me
Más bien parece Viaje a las iglesias de Portugal porque 3/4 partes del viaje lo pasaba adentro de iglesias, capillas, catedrales, etc... lo que puede ser agotador, al menos para mi.
Si el libro fuera solo el 1/4 restantesería genial, con notables anécdotas de reflexiones, imaginaciones o acontecimientos históricos.
De todas formas, si me dejo caer en Portugal, el libro vendría conmigo.
Andres Seijo
Apr 15, 2014 Andres Seijo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Una guía perfecta de Portugal
May 09, 2014 Jocelyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: portugal
I'm going to have to put Saramego aside for now. I'm enjoying his writing style, his point of view, and his personality, but I'm finding that this is not a book for someone new to Portugal, its history, or its culture. Saramego references events, writers, and historical by name and with little context for the uninformed.

A beautiful book, but not what I'm looking for before my first trip to Portugal (although I'll likely read the geographically relevant sections before I go).
I think this book would have been better served to me after going to Portugal. But it is a comprehensive road trip across the country, looking at the churches and some of the people who find themselves living in their small town, either affected or unaffected by the religious and folkloric artifacts around them. Very thorough - perhaps too much so for the casual reader about this Iberian nation. But I'll take anything Saramago serves.
Jul 02, 2015 Alina marked it as gave-up-on  ·  review of another edition
The writing is VERY beutiful, but it's not my kind of book
Dec 28, 2008 h rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008, travel, translated
oh man is this book ever translated. badly. and badly edited. perhaps the worst edited book i've ever read, typo-wise. there's something slightly charming about the author's voice, nevertheless, and a few gems squealch their way through. a church-and-museum tour of portugal led by your grandpa is basically how i'd describe this book.
Sep 09, 2008 Victorialn2000 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this for two reasons: I love Saramago and I wanted to learn more about Portugal.
Both goals were met and exceeded. Saramago's humanity, sense of humor/irony, and understanding of the human spirit are in every page, every line - you just want to read slower to relish his writing.
Portugal...can't wait to go!
Frank Dahai
Jul 28, 2009 Frank Dahai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I sure am learning a lot about Portugal, especially manueline architecture. As they say on the back jacket, it's the personality that makes the book. Saramago is very strong on nooks. And crannies. He kind of gets tired and impatient towards the end, but then so does the reader, so that works out nicely.
Angel Serrano
El autor recorre Portugal de Norte a Sur y de Este a Oeste visitando gran parte de los monumentos religiosos y artísticos del camino. Especial predilección tiene por las iglesias y los museos. Se echa de menos una línea argumental sólida y más interacción con la gente, comida, costumbres...
May 15, 2014 Jbondandrews rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed reading Journey to Portugal, though I had a few minor complaints. I felt the traveller went to too many churches, should have taken transportation other than his car and could have more contact with the local people. I also wished he hadn't added in the bullfight.
Aug 04, 2013 Iris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It took almost 100 pages to get used to the writing and start to enjoy the book. You have to read slowly, and at time aloud. The book was not intended to be a travel guide, but an account of his journey. I did suffer from a lack of knowledge of Portugal's history.
Aug 18, 2008 Camas rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
I have a hard time with third-person recountings, and the continuous references to "the traveler" made it difficult to get more than a chapter or two into this book before allowing it to be shuffled back into the stacks in favor of less labored prose.
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José de Sousa Saramago (pronounced [ʒuˈzɛ sɐɾɐˈmagu]) was a Nobel-laureate Portuguese novelist, playwright and journalist. He was a member of the Portuguese Communist Party.
His works, some of which can be seen as allegories, commonly present subversive perspectives on historic events, emphasizing the human factor rather than the officially sanctioned story. Saramago was awarded the Nobel Prize fo
More about José Saramago...

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