The Moon, Come to Earth by Philip Graham
Dispatches from Lisbon

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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.


About Philip Graham

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ALMA GOTTLIEB is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her publications include Parallel Worlds: An Anthropologist and a Writer Encounter Africa (1993, with Philip Graham), Under the Kapok Tree: Identity and Difference in Beng Thought (1992), and Blood Magic: The Anthropology of Menstruation (1988, co-edited with Thomas Buckley). Graham-Institute of Child Health, London
Published November 15, 2009 by University of Chicago Press. 168 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Travel. Non-fiction

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The Guardian

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Philip Graham is a "cosy middle-class" American who drags his family with him wherever he goes, whether among mud huts in Africa or the dazzle, dirt and pork (yes, pork) of Lisbon.

Dec 12 2009 | Read Full Review of The Moon, Come to Earth: Disp...

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