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The Tale of the Unknown Island

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  3,037 ratings  ·  263 reviews
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 ...more
ebook, 64 pages
Published October 5th 2000 by Mariner Books (first published 1986)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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s.penkevich
Liking is probably the best form of ownership, and ownership the worst form of liking.

Saramago had a gift for delivering such potent messages in such a simple manner, focusing a vast array of complex ideas into a simple parable that easily penetrates to your heart. His short story, The Tale of the Unknown Island is no exception, as is brought to even higher heights of fairytale-like beauty with the simple illustrations by Peter Sís. While it would have been best to include this in a collection
...more
Mike Puma

Briefly, perhaps my briefest yet: Log of the S.S. the Mrs. Unguentine—lite.




***^^^***

What? You want a real review? Try this one.


***^^^****

Still reading? Cheeses! I know what you want to know. No doubt in my mind. You want to know if if I’m padding my Read list to get current on my 2013 goal. Man, the audacity, some people think they’re entitled to know everything. So, with regard to the matter of catching up to my goal, all I will tell you is
description
Andreea Daia
This is such a positive short story, and although I realize that sailing in search of the Unknown Island is just a metaphor for self-discovery, it made me want to go sailing too.

There are about 1500 reviews that summarize the plot and, since The Tale of the Unknown Island is anyways an allegory, I'll simply skip to the meaning. What is great about José Saramago is that he never lets the reader wonder what he intended to say: "I want to find the unknown island, I want to find out who I am when I'
...more
Helin
Romandan ziyade bir Saramago dünyasından bir uzun öykü bu. Pek kısa geldi, keşke daha uzun olabilseymiş.
Murat G.
" Ben bilinmeyen adayı bulmak istiyorum, o adaya ayak bastığımda kim olduğumu öğrenmek istiyorum.."
أميــــرة

A short story with a 'Saramagonian' flavor!

From the very first word I thought it'd be a children story but Saramago kept drifting the main line each time I think I got to a finale, to end up with a surprising end!

It's too short to talk about or to say what I got from it without spoiling it! It'd take about an hour to read. Go find about it yourself, you'll not regret it.

Beatrice
[Review in portuguese]

Quem alguma vez leu algum livro de Saramago, sabe que o mesmo tem um estilo algo peculiar mas absolutamente fantástico. Apesar deste ser o seu livro mais pequeno, a regra aplica-se igualmente.

Em poucas páginas e num tom minimalista, numa faceta que nunca lhe tinha visto, José Saramago faz-nos uma metáfora sobre o auto-descobrimento, ao narrar sobre o "Homem do barco" que queria aventurar-se à procura de uma ilha desconhecida. Isto passando por uma crítica à burocracia e mon
...more
Claudia
A superb (very short) novella about the power of will and love. The satirical pins with the unmistakable touch of humor are present, as usual, but what really stands out is the story itself: charming, intelligent, cautionary, heart-touching.

I read this story not as a standalone one, but as part of this volume: The Collected Novels of José Saramago The Collected Novels of José Saramago by José Saramago which, beside this fable, contains 12 of his novels and has a wonderful foreword by Ursula K. Le Guin: only words of praise about the man (and writ
...more
Yasamin Rezaei
"هیچ مردی جزیره ی کاملی نیست؛همه پاره ای از یک قاره اند ، جزیی از یک اصل"

"دوست داشتن احتمالا بهترین شکل مالکیت است و مالکیت بدترین شکل دوست داشتن"

"من فکر می کنم برای دیدن یک جزیره باید از آن جدا شد؛ما نمی توانیم خود را ببینیم مگر آنکه از قید خود رها شویم، منظورت این است که از خودمان فرار کنیم،نه، این دو یکی نیستند."

"شعله مانند بالا آمدن مهتاب آهسته آهسته گسترده تر شد و چهره ی زن نظافتچی را روشن کرد.نیازی به گفتن نیست که مرد با خود چه اندیشید : چه زیباست.اما آنچه زن با خود اندیشید چنین بود:چشمش ف
...more
César Lasso
Saramago, fed up with some attitudes in his own country, auto-exiled himself, went to a neighbouring country such as Spain, took a Spanish wife, they both moved to an island legally belonging to Spain and set on the Northern coasts of Africa,

believed in humand kind and believed in a utopical union between Portugal and Spain, and got the Nobel prize for the quality of his works, always written in Portuguese and later on translated into other languages.

Saramago never betrayed Portugal... He simpl
...more
Ema
"Gostar é provavelmente a melhor maneira de ter, ter deve ser a pior maneira de gostar."

Dizer que Saramago é um dos meus autores favoritos sem ter lido este conto era um atentado. Resolvi colmatar isso. A história não me era completamente estranha, pelo que penso ter ouvido falar dela na escola. Este é um conto muito pequeno, sabe a pouco, e é esse o seu único defeito. Saramago sabe contar histórias como ninguém! As suas histórias têm sempre algo com que nos identificar e, simultaneamente, deixa
...more
Muhammed Mahmoud
إنه ساراماغو .. الرائع .. البسيط .. العميق..
الجزء الأول من القصة شديد البلاغة في النسج..
الحاكم .. حبه للتملق .. إهماله للرعية ..
الشعب .. حاجاته .. و معاناته..
و يبين ساراماغو أنه عند نقطة ما .. لابد من ثورة ..
هذا ما أعتقد أنه أراد أن يقول ..
النصف الثاني .. يتحدث فيه عن الحلم .. و جدواه .. و منتهاه..
قصة قصيرة تترك فيك أثراً طويلاً .. في مداه
Esra Mısırlı
Saramago kendine yakışan uslubuyla hepimizin içinde yatan o bilinmeyeni keşfetme arzusunu yoldaşlığın öneminin altını çizerek bir kez daha bizlere sunuyor. Okuma keyfini arttıran, duygulara hitap eden cümleler de cabası. Zevkle okunacak bir hikaye.
Carlos Reges
Qué relato tan corto pero emotivo, hermoso, fácil de leer, muy profundo su diálogo corto y directo. Sin mucho que agregar, es un cuento que merece leer todo aquél que busque con ahínco y decisión su isla desconocida. Yo me aventuro, ¿y tú?
Sara
Saramago neste pequeno conto apresenta-nos um indivíduo que pretende navegar para encontrar a ilha desconhecida. Para tal, vai junto do rei para lhe pedir que lhe dê um barco para ir à descoberta da ilha. Depois de esperar 3 dias à porta das petições, o rei decidi ouvi-lo e apesar de todas as contradições decide aceitar o pedido deste indivíduo deixando a população contente.

Com este conto Saramago oferece-nos algumas lições, não desistir dos sonhos e de que é necessário sairmos de nós para nos c
...more
Lloyd Fassett
This is my favorite fable about the fact that we don't know what we don't know, and a couple of people don't accept that.

It's for entrepreneurs, or better put, it's for anyone who searches. It's the act of searching, of being driven from the inside, that is it's own reward. The finding, achieving, graduating, selling, being the King (close to him), financial statements, are all trailing indicators highly correlated with how things have been done. Leading indicators are how things will be done,
...more
Felixx
"La Isla Desconocida... a la búsqueda de sí misma". El literato lo vuelve a hacer, en esta corta historia se desenvuelve el amor, los sueños y la búsqueda de ese "algo" que no sabremos que es hasta que decidamos que nos falta y que hay que salir a buscarlo. Es la calidez, el viaje y el entendimiento lúcido lo que hace de este capítulo literario tan especial. A través del sueño escapamos, nos alejamos estando cerca unos de los otros, pero volvemos a encontrarnos. Y en esta búsqueda, la imaginació ...more
Tony
A very quick read with a fast ending pace.

The plot is pretty basic. A determined man is keen on finding an unknown island, and needs a boat to do so. After persuading the king, he gets himself a boat. The king’s cleaning woman tags along with him, after realizing that her true vocation is not scrubbing palaces but cleaning boats. (No judgments whatsoever but ‘Think big, dream big’ does not apply to this woman.)

Upon hitting the no-crew-can’t-sail obstacle, she suggests that they settle in the boa
...more
Sandra
Una breve favola che ha illuminato la giornata.
Ognuno di noi ha un'isola sconosciuta dentro di sè, uno scrigno segreto che custodisce con cura. Ci vuole coraggio a prendere il largo per andare a cercarla, non tutti ci riescono, solo con l'aiuto e con la forza che provengono dal cuore si può riuscire ad imbarcarsi sull'Isola Sconosciuta e affrontare i marosi dell'esistenza.
Ayça
Kendimizden çıkmadıkça kendimizi görmemiz mümkün değil.
Rita
"Para viajar, basta existir" - Fernando Pessoa
Dora María
'Esta es la historia de dos valientes que en un mundo de cobardes se las arreglan para buscarse, encontrarse y finalmente amarse el uno al otro' , un cuento fascinante que nos lleva a cuestionarnos que tan valiente se ha sido en la vida para cumplir los más profundos sueños y para realizar las cosas que anhela nuestro corazón, me encanta el final y todos los simbolismos que hay referidos a Dios, la incomodidad divina que nos empuja a querer descubrir, el matrimonio o la vida en pareja y el descu ...more
Christian
Hermoso cuento de José Saramago!

Repleto de simbolismos y reflexiones acerca de la vida y el ser interior. La búsqueda de la isla desconocida no es mas que una excusa inconsciente para encontrarle sentido a la vida. Seguramente, como le pasó a este buscador, en esa búsqueda, encontremos mucho mas de lo que esperábamos, y al final, la isla sea ese lugar en dónde encontramos la felicidad y terminemos rodeados de gente que se ha decidido a acompañarnos en este viaje.

Señor José, ¿cómo se puede decir
...more
Nülifer Akdemir
" Bir adam kralın kapısını çalmış ve ona demiş ki, Bana bir tekne ver...." diye başlıyor kitap.Kitap hangi ülkede geçer ya da adamın , kralın isimleri nedir belli değil. İsmi olmayan bir ülkede ismi olmayan insanlar arasında geçer olay. Bilinmeyen bir adayı keşfetmek ister adam. Kral ise bilinmeyen bir adanın kalmadığını , bütün adaların bilindiğini söylese de adam ısrar eder. Adı üstünde bilinmeyen adadır. Bilen olsa zaten bilinmeyen olmazdı değil mi? Her yaşta okuyucunun zevkle okuyacağı kita ...more
Jackson Nieuwland
me: let me into your cave
do you know anything about José Saramago?

Carolyn: um
1) yes you can get into my cave
permission granted
2) no
who is that
what is that

me: he won a nobel prize for literature
started reading a short ass book by him today

Carolyn: oh
wow

me: seems okay
like a lil fable parable thing. pretty sure its not one of his major works
i like fable parable things
idk
its only 50 pages
the pages are small

...

Carolyn: haha
are you a hick

me: i dont think so
i might seem like one to you
via nz being t
...more
Mark Picketts
I love Saramago, i did before reading this and am just trying to spread out reading all his works so I don't run out them.

Simple and beautiful, this will be the best use of your time - and it won't take much of that.

"indeed this is the way fate usually treats us, it's there right behind us, it has already reached out a hand to touch us on the shoulder while we're still mutter to ourselves," - 38%

"I know that even known islands remain unknown until we set foot on them," - 45%

"Liking is probably
...more
Miguelochocinco
Wow! es la primer cosa que leo de Saramago y me encantó, es un relato sencillo, esperanzador,emotivo, fácil de leer.
Creo que encontré mi isla desconocida. :)
Helena
José Saramago era um Senhor!
É sem sombra de dúvidas um dos meus autores preferidos! Talvez até, O preferido.

Este conto é muito pequeno mas muito bonito. Adorei!
Beatriz Rosales
Una historia corta y atemporal, una historia de amor diferente; la cual inicia con un propósito de descubrir una isla y la petición de un deseo, el final tal como lo esperamos. Esta lectura ratifica la frase de "cada uno somos una isla"; reconocer que somos desconocidos hasta que alguien te sigue en un sueño común y terminar juntos en esa isla por descubrir. Leí este cuento en una tarde calurosa, acompañada de mi hijo y de un delicioso café moka. Tarde completa.
Christine
Once again Jose Saramago delivers an evocative story in his decptively simple style. The system for requesting favors from the king illustrated the truth behind every government's red tape. The power of the story, however, comes from the faith underlying the search for the unknown island. One of the main characters is a man who insists he will search for an island which has never been charted and is therefore unknown. The woman who cleans the castle decides the search sounds like the life she wa ...more
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1285555
José de Sousa Saramago (pronounced [ʒuˈzɛ sɐɾɐˈmagu]) is 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 for
...more
More about José Saramago...
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“Liking is probably the best form of ownership, and ownership the worst form of liking.” 99 likes
“...you have to leave the island in order to see the island, that we can't see ourselves unless we become free of ourselves, Unless we escape from ourselves you mean, No, that's not the same thing.” 39 likes
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