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Saramago, Jose (Translated by Margaret Jull Costa) & Sis, Peter (Artist/Illustrator). THE TALE OF THE UNKNOWN ISLAND. New York City, NY: Harcourt Brace, 1999. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 51 pages. Fine/Fine.

The author's illustrated tale. The first appearance of the title in English and in the United States. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a very small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Jose Saramago's "O Conto da Ilha Desconhecido" in a felicitous English translation. A tenderly ironic little book as only Saramago could have written it, it is beautifully complemented with illustrations by the Caldecott Award-winning artist Peter Sis. "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 of his time sitting by the door for favors (favors being offered to the king), 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" (Publisher's blurb). The man travels with a cleaning woman, and with the most delicate touch, Saramago has given us a parable of Christianity: The king is God, the man is Jesus, the woman is Mary Magdalene, and the island is freedom. An absolute "must-have" title for Jose Saramago collectors. This title is a modern classic. This is one of few copies of the First American Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. A scarce copy thus. Regarded by Harold Bloom as one of the two greatest novelists of our time (the other being Philip Roth), Jose Saramago will be read as probably the greatest European novelist of the last fifty years. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER JOSE SARAMAGO TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 0151005958. $50.00

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