The huge contrast between the elephant's moving gestures and the oneupmanship practiced by many of the humans in this novel are portrayed with humor and knowing, wry compassion. Saramago, even in a scant 224 pages, also divulges in long asides whenever he feels like it, and often comes up with gems. To wit:
... but you know how it is with writing, one word often brings along another in its train simply because they sound good together, even if this means sacrificing respect for levity and ethics for aesthetics ... It is in this and other ways, almost without our realising it, that we make so many enemies in life.Oh talk about a good point. Especially among those of us to whom quick retorts are not natural and who will never be quite with it.
Although I've not yet finished the book, let it be said now that Saramago left us with a gentle and wise farewell.