Passarola Rising

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Viking, 2006 - Fiction - 244 pages
3 Reviews
A dazzling literary debut that will appeal to fans of Life of Pi, and a delightful fictional journey through the best and worst of Enlightenment Europe

This charming tale of adventure opens in 1731 with the launch of the Passarola, a peculiar airship, from the ramparts of a castle in Lisbon. Invented by Bartolomeu Lourenço to escape the intellectually stultifying climate of Portugal, the airship whisks him and his brother Alexandre away as they travel from the salons and bordellos of Ancien RégimeParis to the desolate far reaches of the North Pole in search of scientific truth. Leaving behind their parents in Brazil and Alexandre's beautiful love interest, Maria, a lady-in-waiting at the Portuguese court, they encounter some of the most colorful characters in eighteenth-century Europe, from the loquacious Voltaire to the irascible King Stanislaus of Poland. But their valorous quest for knowledge is threatened by the condemnation of Portugal's Cardinal Conti, who views their scientific quest as a heresy. Filled with evocative period detail, Passarola Risingis a deftly handled picaresque tale that also touches upon the nature of truth and fraternal companionship. It is sure to captivate fans of the adventure tales of Jules Verne as well as readers of the quirky, inventive novels of Haruki Murakami and Yann Martel.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - veracite - LibraryThing

A lovely plot, beautiful imagery, clever but over too fast, I think. I'm not sure if this is because I had a solid two hours to fill and read it without breaks or because it touches on interesting ... Read full review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A Brazilian-born priest who explores the far reaches of earth and the heavens is the subject of this diverting debut novel, the work of a Pakistani-born Australian author.The learned cleric is ... Read full review


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About the author (2006)

Azhar Abidi was born in Pakistan and lives in Melbourne, Australia. His work has been published in The Guardian Weekly, the Australian literary journal Meanjin, and in The Best Australian Essays 2004.

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