A metaphysical detective story about love and existence from the Italian master, Antonio Tabucchi. When Tadeus sets out to find Isabel, his former love, he soon finds himself on a metaphysical journey across the world, one that calls into question the meaning of time and existence and the power of words.
Isabel disappeared many years ago. Tadeus Slowacki, a Polish writer, her former friend and lover, has come back to Lisbon to learn of her whereabouts. Rumors abound: Isabel died in prison under Salazar's regime, or perhaps wasn't 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 the continent. 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 narration, tracing circles around a lost woman and the ultimate inaccessible truth.
“• "An essential testament to Tabucchi's talent, a masterwork written with diligence and care... The novel is an epitome of Tabucchi's work, an account of exotic travels and blossoming, abstruse identities, a dream-like and ironic limbo... Literary alchemy." -- Javier Aparicio Maydeu, El Pais • "A masterfully written work made of pauses and delays, realistic details and openings into the fantastic... Tabucchi's art is deployed here in all its force and fascination. It wins us over once again." -- Fabio Gambaro, Le Monde • "Tabucchi enters and expands his fictional universe, revisiting his beloved Lisbon and advancing his reflections on being and time. The novel is a perfect mix of diverse elements, of sudden twists and geographic flights; the plot is crafted with exquisite mastery, the story both engages and provokes." -- Paolo Mauri, La Repubblica”