It’s the beginning of the month again, and that means it’s time for the University of Chicago Press. This month the UCP is giving The Moon, Come to Earth, a memoir by Philip Graham.
This ebook was originally published in 2009, and it’s built on a series of anecdotes that Graham had written for McSweeney’s detailing his experiences during a year spent in Portugal 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.