For Isabel: A Mandala


Translated from by

Published: September 5th, 2017


    ebook (ePub)

Book Description

Isabel disappeared many years ago. Tadeus Slowacki, a dead Polish writer, has returned to Lisbon from a star in order to learn the truth about her. Rumors abound: Isabel died in prison under Salazar’s regime, or perhaps was never arrested at all. As Tadeus interviews one old acquaintance of hers after the next, a chameleon-like portrait of a young, ideological woman emerges, ultimately bringing Tadeus on a metaphysical journey across continents and through time. Constructed in the form of a mandala, For Isabel is the spiraling search for an enigma, an investigation into time and existence, the power of words, and the limits of the senses. In this posthumous work, Tabucchi creates an ingenious narrative, a whimsical, cosmic detective novel tracing circles around a lost woman and the ultimate inaccessible truth.

[O]ne man is journeying through concentric circles of evidence to uncover deeper ideas about truth ... [T]here's a satisfying richness to the whole, and translator Harris gracefully navigates the narrator's tonal shift from gumshoe to spiritual seeker, making the story lyrical and surprising while avoiding airiness. An ... engaging jaunt into the ineffable.

Kirkus Reviews

His unbounded restlessness has come to an end, and Tabucchi has finally reached the center of his consciousness.

Angelo Guglielmi, L’Unita

As he did with Requiem and Indian Nocturne, Antonio Tabucchi offers us another enchanting story that wanders between reality and fantasy, between daily life and dream, while taking us on a deeply moving journey into the human soul.

Gaspare Trapani, Forum Italicum

For Isabel isn’t 'a' story by Tabucchi; in some ways, it can be defined as 'the' story—what he tried to write for so many years… An homage to literature as a form of knowledge…

Paolo Mauri, la Repubblica