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Works by
Jose Saramago
(Portuguese Writer)
[November 16, 1922 - ]

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BLOG (Spanish)
Profile created October 5, 2009
 
Biography/Memoirs
  • As Pequenas Memórias / Memories of my Youth (2006)
    Saramago writes about his childhood: some parts in Azhinaga, the town where he was born, and other parts in Lisbon where he left to when he was two. With the poetic prose that characterizes him and without any trace of resentment, Saramago narrates the misery in which his family lived. Contains photos with comments made in his own handwriting. ''A person writes about their adult memoirs perhaps to say, 'Look how important I am'. (...) So, I focused on the years from four to fifteen.'' Jose Saramago

    Description in Spanish: ''Me interesa conocer mi relacion con ese nino que fui. Ese nino esta en mi, siempre ha estado y siempre lo estara. Un adulto escribe memorias de adulto, acaso para decir: ''Miren que importante soy''. He hecho memorias de nino, y me he sentido nino haciendolas; queria que los lectores supieran de donde salio el hombre que soy. Asi que me centre en unos anos, de los cuatro a los quince''.

Fiction
  • As Intermitências da Morte / Death with Interruptions (2005/2008)
    Nobel Prize-winner Jose Saramago's brilliant new novel poses the question -- what happens when the grim reaper decides there will be no more death?

    On the first day of the new year, no one dies. This of course causes consternation among politicians, religious leaders, morticians, and doctors. Among the general public, on the other hand, there is initially celebration—flags are hung out on balconies, people dance in the streets. They have achieved the great goal of humanity: eternal life. Then reality hits home—families are left to care for the permanently dying, life-insurance policies become meaningless, and funeral parlors are reduced to arranging burials for pet dogs, cats, hamsters, and parrots.

    Death sits in her chilly apartment, where she lives alone with scythe and filing cabinets, and contemplates her experiment: What if no one ever died again? What if she, death with a small d, became human and were to fall in love?

  • Ensaio sobre a Lucidez / Seeing (2004/2006)


  • On election day in the capital, it is raining so hard that no one has bothered to come out to vote. The politicians are growing jittery. Should they reschedule the elections for another day? Around three o’clock, the rain finally stops. Promptly at four, voters rush to the polling stations, as if they had been ordered to appear.

    But when the ballots are counted, more than 70 percent are blank. The citizens are rebellious. A state of emergency is declared. But are the authorities acting too precipitously? Or even blindly? The word evokes terrible memories of the plague of blindness that hit the city four years before, and of the one woman who kept her sight. Could she be behind the blank ballots? A police superintendent is put on the case.

    What begins as a satire on governments and the sometimes dubious efficacy of the democratic system turns into something far more sinister. A singular novel from the author of Blindness.
  • O Homem Duplicado / The Double (2003/2004)


  • Tertuliano Máximo Afonso is a divorced, depressed history teacher. To lift his spirits, a colleague suggests he rent a certain video. Tertuliano watches the film, unimpressed. But during the night, when he is awakened by noises in his apartment, he goes into the living room to find that the VCR is replaying the video. He watches in astonishment as a man who looks exactly like him-or, more specifically, exactly like he did five years before, mustachioed and fuller in the face-appears on the screen. He sleeps badly.

    Against his better judgment, Tertuliano decides to pursue his double. As he roots out the man's identity, what begins as a whimsical story becomes a "wonderfully twisted meditation on identity and individuality" (The Boston Globe). Saramago displays his remarkable talent in this haunting tale of appearance versus reality.
  • La Caverna / The Cave (2001/2002)


  • Cipriano Algor, an elderly potter, lives with his daughter Marta and her husband Marçal in a small village on the outskirts of The Center, an imposing complex of shops, apartments, and offices to which Cipriano delivers his pots and jugs every month. On one such trip, he is told not to make any more deliveries. Unwilling to give up his craft, Cipriano tries his hand at making ceramic dolls. Astonishingly, The Center places an order for hundreds, and Cipriano and Marta set to work-until the order is cancelled and the three have to move from the village into The Center. When mysterious sounds of digging emerge from beneath their apartment, Cipriano and Marçal investigate, and what they find transforms the family's life. Filled with the depth, humor, and the extraordinary philosophical richness that marks each of Saramago's novels, The Cave is one of the essential books of our time.
  • O Conto da Ilha Desconhecida / The Tale of the Unknown Island (1997/1999)


  • A man went to knock at the king's door and said, Give me a boat. The king's house had many other doors, but this was the door for petitions. Since the king spent all his time sitting at the door for favors (favors being offered to the king, you understand), whenever he heard someone knocking at the door for petitions, he would pretend not to hear . . ." Why the petitioner required a boat, where he was bound for, and who volunteered to crew for him, the reader will discover in this delightful fable, a philosophic love story worthy of Swift or Voltaire.
  • Todos os Nomes / All the Names (1997/1999)


  • Senhor José is a low-grade clerk in the city's Central Registry, where the living and the dead share the same shelf space. A middle-aged bachelor, he has no interest in anything beyond the certificates of birth, marriage, divorce, and death that are his daily routine. But one day, when he comes across the records of an anonymous young woman, something happens to him. Obsessed, Senhor José sets off to follow the thread that may lead him to the woman-but as he gets closer, he discovers more about her, and about himself, than he would ever have wished.

    The loneliness of people's lives, the effects of chance, the discovery of love-all coalesce in this extraordinary novel that displays the power and art of José Saramago in brilliant form.
  • Ensaio sobre a Cegueira / Blindness (1995/1997)


  • A city is hit by an epidemic of "white blindness" that spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food rations and assaulting women. There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides seven strangers—among them a boy with no mother, a girl with dark glasses, a dog of tears—through the barren streets, and the procession becomes as uncanny as the surroundings are harrowing. A magnificent parable of loss and disorientation and a vivid evocation of the horrors of the twentieth century, Blindness has swept the reading public with its powerful portrayal of man's worst appetites and weaknesses-and man's ultimately exhilarating spirit.
    Movie
  • O Evangelho Segundo Jesus Cristo / The Gospel According to Jesus Christ (1991/1993)


  • This is a skeptic’s journey into the meaning of God and of human existence. At once an ironic rendering of the life of Christ and a beautiful novel, Saramago’s tale has sparked intense discussion about the meaning of Christianity and the Church as an institution.
  • História do Cerco de Lisboa / The History of the Siege of Lisbon (1989 /1996)


  • In this “ingenious” novel (New York Times) by “one of Europe’s most original and remarkable writers” (Los Angeles Times), a proofreader’s deliberate slip opens the door to romance-and confounds the facts of Portugal’s past.
  • A Jangada de Pedra / The Stone Raft (1986/1994)


  • When the Iberian Peninsula breaks free of Europe and begins to drift across the North Atlantic, five people are drawn together on the newly formed island-first by surreal events and then by love.
  • O Ano da Morte de Ricardo Reis   / The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis (1986/1991)
    The year: 1936. Europe dances while an invidious dictator establishes himself in Portugal. The city: Lisbon-gray, colorless, chimerical. Ricardo Reis, a doctor and poet, has just come home after sixteen years in Brazil.

  • Memorial do Convento / Baltasar and Blimunda (1982/1987)


  • From the recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature in Literature, a “brilliant...enchanting novel” (New York Times Book Review) of romance, deceit, religion, and magic set in eighteenth-century Portugal at the height of the Inquisition.
  • Manual de Pintura e Caligrafia / Manual of Painting and Calligraphy (1977/1993)
    By the author of "Baltasar and Blimunda". The last years of Salazar's dictatorship provide a backdrop for this novel. The story is told by H, a second-rate artist commissioned by a wealthy client to paint a family portrait. As he works, he reflects on his struggles to survive in a bourgeois world.

Non-fiction
  • Viagem a Portugal / Journey to Portugal: In Pursuit of Portugal's History and Culture (1981/2000)
    When José Saramago decided to write a book about Portugal, his only desire was that it be unlike all other books on the subject, and in this he has certainly succeeded. Recording the events and observations of a journey across the length and breadth of the country he loves dearly, Saramago brings Portugal to life as only a writer of his brilliance can. Forfeiting the usual sources such as tourist guides and road maps, he scours the country with the eyes and ears of an observer fascinated by the ancient myths and history of his people. Whether it be an inaccessible medieval fortress set on a cliff, a wayside chapel thick with cobwebs, or a grand mansion in the city, the extraordinary places of this land come alive.

    Always meticulously attentive to those elements of ancient Portugal that persist today, he examines the country in its current period of rapid transition and growth. Journey to Portugal is an ode to a country and its rich traditions.

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