The Moon, Come to Earth
Dispatches from Lisbon
A dispatch from a foreign land, when crafted by an attentive and skilled writer, can be magical, transmitting pleasure, drama, and seductive strangeness.
In The Moon, Come to Earth, Philip Graham offers an expanded edition of a popular series of dispatches originally published on McSweeney’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 José Saramago, being trapped in a budding soccer riot, and his daughter’s challenging transition to adolescence while attending a Portuguese school—but he also waxes loving about Portugal’s saudade-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 Earth is literary travel writing of a rare intimacy and immediacy.
I Don’t Know Why I Love Lisbon
So Who Says Objects Are Inanimate?
365 Days of Pork Surprise
Alchemy: From a Rube to a Local
Bread, Bread; Cheese, Cheese
Let’s Throw a Festival!
Isn’t There a Law against Filching Calçadas?
The Moon, Come to Earth
Those Tricky Subgestures
Nearly the Same Substance
Another History Lesson
We Capture the Castle
Light for Light
Este espectáculo cruél
Particle and Wave
Goodbye, Good Luck
Sip by Sip
On This Side of the Ocean
Sources of Literature Quoted
"The Moon, Come to Earth: Dispatches from Lisbon is so enchanting: It dances and sighs. It twitches and hums and stumbles and then rights itself, with a winsome smile. It's like a living thing, filled with desire and uncertainty and joy and regret . . . Graham is a nimble, witty writer with a penchant for teasing out the small, telling detail from the crowded scene around him. . . and this book is the perfect companion as one contemplates those mysteries, those ceaseless journeys outward and inward."
"Graham's writing is unobtrusive and gentle, and . . . there is a pleasant luminosity that renders this little books of essays serene and enjoyable."
"In The Moon, Come to Earth Philip Graham takes us on the best kind of journey, as he simultaneously reveals the fascinating city of Lisbon--its neighborhoods, its writers, its customs, its cuisine--and offers an intimate portrait of his beloved family. With his far-reaching intellect Graham is the ideal travelling companion, and The Moon, Come to Earth is a beautiful and surprising book."
"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."
"The Moon, Come to Earth offers manifold delights. For an uninitiated reader, it's an introduction to Portuguese culture, language, literature, and history. At the same time, Graham speaks eloquently to the wider processes of discovering emotional truths through self-reflection and of revealing philosophical and political insights through a close attention to particulars. Graham's voice--with its stunning metaphors, elegant turns of phrase, and delightful wit--carries such warmth and charm that one keeps reading partly for the pleasure of his company."