The Tale of the Unknown Island by José Saramago


A dreamer petitions his king for a boat—and gets more than he bargained for—in “this richly enigmatic short story” by the Nobel Prize-winning author (Kirkus).

“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. But 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 . . ."
So begins this beautifully illustrated and deceptively simple fable. Why the petitioner required a boat, where he was bound for, and who volunteered to crew for him, the reader will soon discover. In a departure from his linguistically dense and sprawling historical novels, Jose Saramago presents a philosophic love story worthy of Swift or Voltaire.

Buy The Tale of the Unknown Island

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