The Elephant’s Journey by José Saramago
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is a miracle. Like a miracle described in the book. A must read for animal fans, humor lovers and tragedy lovers. The author says about the inspiration for the story in the end, which is surprising. I would never expect and elephant to walk in snow, I come from land of elephants and have experienced snow, but I would never want an elephant to walk on snow. Here , is the journey though. The book is full of humor and glittering pieces of an Indian character the mahout, a second hero to the the elephant in the story.
I read the English translation which is very rich in usage of vocabulary. It serves as a good source to learn some new words.
There are some great lines in this book. Here, are a few.
” We are, more and more, our own defects and not our qualities”
“..One word often brings along another in its train simply because they sound good together, even if this mean lack of levity and ethics for aesthetics , if such solemn concepts are not out of place in a discourse such as this, and often to no one’s advantage either. It is in this and other ways, almost without our realizing it, that we make so many enemies in life”
( This sounds like a poem, wow)
And this one for the pride of India
“…despite the ridiculous number of deities, sub-deities and demons infesting that country, there are far fewer superstitions in the land … than in the particular part of civilized and very christian Europe…”
(why this statement? another reason to read the book)
One more on India
“if your highness knew the elephants as i believe I do, you would know that India exists wherever an Indian elephant happens to be…., and the same India will remain in tact inside him ( elephant)..”
(This captures the essential essence of India, Have never seen a writing that is more straight to heart. This applies to other nationalities as well.)
“.. the longer I live, the more I ignore,….,It’s not me playing games with words, it’s them playing games with me..”
(rightly said, as for a writer, the words may be playing the game, and as a write lives longer, it is just natural to ignore more and focus on the writing in progress…)
“..popular wisdom teaches us, and as has more than once been shown, god writes straight on crooked lines, and even seems to prefer the latter.”
(if someone really can aim to comment on what god thinks , like humans do, then it must be from a person of humanity)
“…you will have the life, be it good or bad, for which you were born and from which you cannot escape…”
(people try to change from what they are. for they think they have to be. And then there is this inescapable trap laid out in the birth. But there is no need not to believe in what you want to do with life and then achieve it. In the context of elephant’s journey, he talks about this in regard to their origins. I suppose it is so because the elephant as a mortal animal cannot quickly adapt to the snowing conditions, nor does the one who commands it, the mahout, the life as it comes may be good or bad. The mahout had dreams of traveling but could never afford even in dreams to travel the journey that they had undertaken. But, under the skin they remain mere morals, the end of the story is for tragedy lovers, as I mentioned in the beginning. But the humour in it is big enough so as to sideline or even ignore the tragedy that was upcoming.I do not understand why Jose mentioned as a communist in multiple wiki pages just after pronouncing his literary achievements, who have taken a candid opinion on religion and belief through the writing wrote something like this…This can instigate another round of reading)
“when the mind wanders, when it carries off on the wings of daydreams, we do not even notice the distances traveled, especially when the feet carrying us are not our own”
( this is very true for most us humans. Our dreams and daydreams are so much trusting upon the thrust assured by near and dear the feet which are not ours , the karma or whatever you call it, gets us to push and move the distance that need to be travelled, that is the distance to our destination, made up by our own thoughts and for sure from the support from the unexpected more than the expected. The good that one thinks and acts unto to the benefit of us gives wings to our dreams. We do not own the wings nor the feet that help us travel. It is very true for any achiever in their fields. A successful runner always had the feet of their coach or mentor.This may sound similar and mostly is the same as what Paulo Coelho said in The Alchemist, ” the whole world will conspire to let you achieve your dreams”)
View all my reviews