The Moon, Come to Earth: Dispatches from Lisbon

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-11-15
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
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A dispatch from a foreign land, when crafted by an attentive and skilled writer, can be magical, transmitting pleasure, drama, and seductive strangeness. InThe Moon, Come to Earth,Philip Graham offers an expanded edition of a popular series of dispatches originally published onMcSweeney's, an exuberant yet introspective account of a year's sojourn in Lisbon with his wife and daughter. Casting his attentive gaze on scenes as broad as a citywide arts festival and as small as a single paving stone in a cobbled walk, Graham renders Lisbon from a perspective that varies between wide-eyed and knowing; though he's unquestionably not a tourist, at the same time he knows he will never be a local. So his lyrical accounts reveal his struggles with (and love of) the Portuguese language, an awkward meeting with Nobel laureate Jose Saramago, being trapped in a budding soccer riot, and his daughter's challenging transition to adolescence while attending a Portuguese schoolbut he also waxes loving about Portugal'ssaudade-drenched music, its inventive cuisine, and its vibrant literary culture. And through his humorous, self-deprecating, and wistful explorations, we come to know Graham himself, and his wife and daughter, so that when an unexpected crisis hits his family, we can't help but ache alongside them. A thoughtful, finely wrought celebration of the moment-to-moment excitement of diving deep into another culture and confronting one's secret selves,The Moon, Come to Earthis literary travel writing of a rare intimacy and immediacy. "InThe Moon, Come to EarthPhilip Graham takes us on the best kind of journey, as he simultaneously reveals the fascinating city of Lisbonits neighborhoods, its writers, its customs, its cuisineand offers an intimate portrait of his beloved family. With his far-reaching intellect Graham is the ideal traveling companion, andThe Moon, Come to Earthis a beautiful and surprising book."Margot Livesey "I have long been a great fan of the delicately nuanced, keenly perceptive, beautifully articulated sensibility of Philip Graham. In his dispatches from Lisbon, The Moon, Come to Earth, he is at his exquisite best. I am very happy to follow this wonderful mind wherever in the world it wishes to go."Robert Olen Butler "A good part of the reason I feel so passionately positive aboutThe Moon, Come to Earthis how well Graham is able to convey his compassionate, generous, and comic spirit to the reader. Unfailingly endearing, whether he's trying to figure the number of cobblestones in Lisbon or trying to find an ATM to buy tickets for afutebolmatch, Graham becomes the reader's traveling surrogate in the best sense. But this book is as much about parenthood as it is about Portugal, with Graham's daughter Hannah as the most constant figure in the narrative. The portrait of this father-daughter relationship is about as lovely as I've seen."Robin Hemley, author ofDo-Over! "A beautiful Valentine to Lisbon. Philip Graham and his family take their artistic keenness to Portugal and capture its mystery and contradictions: Whether it's visiting the set of a reality TV show where famous writers play hosts,

Author Biography

Philip Graham is the author of two short story collections, The Art of the Knock and Interior Design, and a novel, How to Read an Unwritten Language, and is the coauthor of a memoir of Africa, Parallel Worlds, winner of the Victor Turner Prize.  He teaches at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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