Jose Saramago, Portuguese writer.
Saramago was born in a small village up north Portugal.
His family wasn’t rich. He didn’t go to university.
During most of his life he worked as a car mechanic.
His first break through as a writer as the amazing novel Baltasar & Blimunda, he was sixty. Was also the first book I read from him and I was conquered.
This novel is part about the constructions of a fantastic building, known today as a Royal Palace, the Mafra Convent, built in the 18th Century, by order of king Joao V.
Reading about how it was built is something, but then visiting the palace becomes something transcendental – I fully advice on it.
But, the main story is not about the palace. The main story is about a beautiful love story between a man and a woman: Baltasar and Blimunda. It’s a master piece, where you see the humanist side of Saramago, the incredible dimension of his characters, with emphasis on the woman, a strong and real person.You will also find yourself like in a roller-coaster, when the writer decides to go pages upon pages without much punctuation.
But this is not the only Saramago’s novel you should read. I read them all. My favorites (besides the one already referenced) are also:
Seeing (ISBN -0-15-101238-5);
The gospel according to Jesus Christ (ISBN-0-15-136-700.0) – this book being the reason why he left his home country. Published in 1991, the then very conservative government decided to censor the book and the disappointed writer left to live in the nice Spanish island of Lanzarote.
Saramago was awarded the Literature Nobel Prize in 1998 and started his speech with the wisest man I’ve ever know, didn’t know how to read or write… This can give you an idea of how humble the writer was.
His writing is extremely clever, sharp, sometimes mischievous and is well know for his ironic parables. Saramago’s anticlericalism, atheism and communist ideology was something that he would never hide.
His novels are timeless. And I get back to them from time to time. It’s like having a friend talking to you. A friend who has many opinions and certainties, a friend that is not afraid of showing emotion but also a friend that is very critical of how the world is run and tells it as it is.
A Master of Literature.