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Passarola Rising

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  131 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
The fabulous debut novel by new international talent Azhar Abidi, Passarola Rising is a deftly written picaresque tale filled with evocative detail, adventure, and suspense. Set in eighteenth-century Europe, it tells the story of Bartolomeu and Alexandre Lourenço, who use their airship, the Passarola, to escape the strictures of the Church, the suspicion of the government, ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published December 26th 2006 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Gostei. Algumas coisas são fantasiosas demais mas algumas partes emocionaram-me bastante.
Jul 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a wonderful interview with the author at . His comments stretch my imagination.

Here is one quote from that interview: "I wanted to write about the limited ability of science to describe the richness of human experience. I set the plot during the Enlightenment—a time of struggle between religion and science—because we are reaping the fruits of the Enlightenment. We think of religion in terms of faith and dogma, and science in terms of reason, logi
Mar 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
I thought this book was fairly poorly written, with a non-gripping plot and Terrible Science. Still, it was pretty great to read an adventure about airships taking place in the 18th century. And the science couldn't be right anyways for that to happen. The airship conveniently doesn't need any fuel! Wouldn't that be neat.
I wanted to read this for a really long time; and I like it, but I'm abandoning it. As soon as I started reading it, I read it for as long as I could in one sitting because I knew as soon as I had waded into the shallows that I would have a hard time returning to it again once I closed it. Even though I like how it's written and everything, it just doesn't pull me in. I think it's because the writing is grand, but the plot is thin. It's like a beautiful dress on a mannequin instead of a person, ...more
Rosanne Hawke
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Azhar Abidi is one of my favourite writers: talented, thought provoking and writes beautiful prose. There's more to Passarola Rising than a romp in the sky. This is a gentle, literary and thought provoking historical fantasy set in the time of the inquisition in Europe -- the clash between science and religion. I met Azhar Abidi at Adelaide Writers Week one year and have read his creative essay about flying carpets. It too is very clever. I am waiting in hope for another Azhar Abidi novel.
Um relato imaginário, mas que parece tão real..
Apesar de algumas passagens mais aceleradas e fantasiosas, gostei de conhecer estas personagens, e li o livro "num pulinho".

Recomendo :)
Mike Rogers
Jan 16, 2012 rated it liked it
I don't read much historical fiction other than Patrick O'Brian's wonderful naval series but the cover of "Passarola Rising," depicting a sailing ship floating in the sky, looked too interesting pass up. The book is the story of the airship Passarola, its travels and its creator Bartolomeu Lourenco (who did actually exist) as told by his brother Alexandre.

The brothers have several adventures aboard Passarola and meet many notable characters from history in their travels including Voltaire and Ki
Matt Kurjanowicz
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, adventure
I found that Passarola Rising was a nice, simple adventure story. The book is about two brothers who were sailing the Earth in a flying ship. While it looks like the book attempts to touch on some more serious subjects - mainly what truth is and the struggle between satisfaction, ambition, and family - I feel like the book failed to satisfactorily address them. It seems like the author treated these subjects with aphorisms, rather than rallying the entire book around them.

The writing was also fa
This was an enjoyable read, but it wasn't so compelling that if I had been abducted with aliens I would've been upset about not knowing the ending. That said, I appreciated this book in a calm sort of way. It does tell an interesting story--there's just never too much danger or suspense in it. People who are into 18th-century European history will probably either really enjoy this book or be utterly disgusted with it for taking some historical liberties--I enjoyed seeing Voltaire as a character, ...more
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is one of my "through the alphabet at the library" books. Not a book I would have selected, but an easy read. One of my criteria for whether a book has been worth my time is if it has piqued my curiousity and caused me to learn/think/wonder about something new. The protagonists in the story are historical characters (Bartolomeu and Alexander Lourenco) about whom I knew nothing. I am interested in learning the fact behind the fiction. Also, reflections on "enlightenment and religious authori ...more
Chanel Earl
Jun 25, 2013 rated it liked it
This book feels older than it is. It is fast paced, meaning that the events move quickly and the reading goes fast, but it is certainly not suspenseful or fast paced in the modern way. I never had trouble putting the book down for a while, I never wondered what was going to happen next. In fact, I never really cared what happened to the characters. It was fun to read, though. I enjoyed the last 20 pages especially.
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
A light read, it didn't really inspire me, I finished it only because I didn't want to let it beat me.
I hate it when authors stuff around mixing up history and fiction, lending personalities to historical people is a doubtful practise to me, why not just invent a character. It is not as if using history adds any authenticity to the subject of the book....
It finished poorly and was generally disappointing.
Jul 26, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: younger readers who are interested in science and history
Recommended to Morgan by: Picked up at a Books Through Bars overstock sale.
What if the first flying machine had been build in the 18th century instead of in the 20th? A Pakistani author living in Australia penned this Vernesque fable set in imperial Portugal about a lesser-known Da Vinci who defies the Church in an airship set for the heavens. It's a bit of an odd subject to tackle and at the same time appropriate as globalized society hurtles us through the gap between science and fiction.
Aug 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
A peculiar book, it seems to be some kind of fable, though I'm not quite sure of the moral. An old man who's lived a life of respectability as a family man, citizen, & man of business, recalls youthful adventures with his older brother, who invents a flying machine in Portugal in 1730, is pursued by the Inquisition, but never gives up his eternal quest for truth by valiantly facing the unknown. It's charming, but beyond me despite its apparent simplicity.
Donna R
Azhar has woven a fine tale around the brothers de Gusmao, Bartolomeu and Alexandre. Much derring-do and adventure follows the pair in their sailing ship 'Passarola' as it traverses Europe; conversing with Voltaire, forming an alliance with King Louis VX, rescuing the King of Poland Stanislaus Leszczynski.
The framework of an enthralling novel is here and I look forward to further work from Azhar Abidi.
Oct 08, 2011 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: human-condition
Although portions of the story are a bit bland, there are definitely moments the author was able to strike chords with basic questions and struggles of human nature; in several instances it was if he were able to read my thoughts and pinpoint major conflicts within my own soul with his words.

Not likely that I would read this book twice, but definitely glad that I gave it a once-through.
Valky Salinas
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm not much of a fan of Historical Fiction, but when I saw the cover of this book I just had to buy and I'm glad I did because I loved it.

Now, it's a very light read and the story is rather simple, but was enjoyable enough for me to read it to the end non stop. The far-fetched physics might be a problem for some but, once you get over it, you won't regret picking this book up.
Sep 08, 2011 rated it liked it
This book certainly does not make me feel any better about aging. Regardless, it's an interesting tale. The account of a man and his older brother who makes a flying machine during the enlightenment. Historical figures are thrown, and it is decent enough but it just fails to be fully satisfying.
Feb 20, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-my-library
Gostei bastante do livro que nos apresenta uma história bem estruturada com um ritmo capaz para o que nos narra. O ideal seria 3.5 estrelas mas como não dá vamos ficar aqui pelas três. De destacar que mais uma vez quem fala dos nossos são os de fora.
Katie Bethell
Mar 02, 2009 rated it liked it
although I only gave this book 3 stars, I have read it twice now. The story is clean and whimsical. The book store recommendation that got me to buy it called it a "palette cleanser" and I see what they mean. It broke me from a long chain of either bad or unfinishable books
Sep 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: australia, c21st
Passarola Rising is seriously good fun, with intellectually stimulating ideas for discussion seamlessly woven into the adventure. Here's my review:
Leif Erik
May 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not particularly deep, but engrossing pre-steam punk (sort of) counter-history. A kind of romance that is often butchered (see Wine, Black)but Abidi realizes that less is more in this type of story. More of a novella.
Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Though the genre is not usually my bag of tea, I constantly found myself picking it back up and telling myself I'd just read one more paragraph--no, just one more page, no, just one more chapter. Fantastical historical interpretation and brilliant.
May 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Easy but compelling book of fiction based on fact. A wonderful journey.
Apr 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is lots of fun. Highly recommended by Christopher, so you know it is worth your time.
Jul 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010-50-a-year
An intriguing fantasy of air travel in the 18th century.
Arnab Basu
A great,great book. One of those hidden jewels that some spend a lifetime looking for but never find.
Hyerim Lee
Mar 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
It is not a crazy perfect masterpiece. But still, it's charming and attractive.
Will Kümmer
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A high-flying, eighteenth-century picaresque propelled by intrigue and tinged with nostalgia. Written in vivid prose. *Spoiler* Voltaire makes an appearance *Spoiler*.
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Azhar Abidi was born in Pakistan and lives in Melbourne, Australia. His work has been published in The Guardian Weekly, the Australian literary journal Meanjin, and in The Best Australian Essays 2004.
More about Azhar Abidi...

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