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"Manual of Painting and Calligraphy" was Jose Saramago's first novel. Written eight years before the critically acclaimed "Baltasar and Blimunda," it is a story of self-discovery set against the background of the last years of Salazar's dictatorship. A struggling young artist, commissioned to paint a portrait of an influential industrialist, learns in the process about himself and the world around him. The brilliant juxtaposition of a passionate love story and the crisis of a nation foreshadows all of Saramago's major works. A must-have for any devotee of the great Portuguese Nobel laureate, "Manual of Painting and Calligraphy" is available in the United States for the first time.
Cipriano Algor, an elderly potter, lives with his daughter Marta
and her husband Marcal 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 Marcal 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.
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.
In an unnamed country, on the first day of the New Year, people stop dying. There is great celebration and people dance in the streets. They have achieved the great goal of humanity: eternal life. Soon, though, the residents begin to suffer. Undertakers face bankruptcy, the church is forced to reinvent its doctrine, and local 'maphia' smuggle those on the brink of death over the border where they can expire naturally. Death does return eventually, but with a new, courteous approach - delivering violet warning letters to her victims. But what can death do when a letter is unexpectedly returned?
No food, no water, no government, no obligation, no order. Discover a chillingly powerful and prescient dystopian vision from one of Europe's greatest writers. A driver waiting at the traffic lights goes blind. An ophthalmologist tries to diagnose his distinctive white blindness, but is affected before he can read the textbooks. It becomes a contagion, spreading throughout the city. Trying to stem the epidemic, the authorities herd the afflicted into a mental asylum where the wards are terrorised by blind thugs. And when fire destroys the asylum, the inmates burst forth and the last links with a supposedly civilised society are snapped. This is not anarchy, this is blindness. 'Saramago repeatedly undertakes to unite the pressing demands of the present with an unfolding vision of the future. This is his most apocalyptic, and most optimistic, version of that project yet' Independent
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
Saramago portraits an imaginary encounter between Fernando Pessoa and Ricardo Reis, who venture back to Portugal after the establishment of the dictatorship of general Salazar. "The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis" describes the country during dictatorship and highlights views using Pessoa's poetic aspect which have long been forgotten in history.
For two years Solomon the elephant has lived in Lisbon. Now King Dom Joao III wishes to make him a wedding gift for a Hapsburg archduke in Vienna. The only way for Solomon to get to his new home is to walk. So begins a journey that will take the stalwart elephant across the dusty plains of Castile, over the sea to Genoa and up to northern Italy where, like Hannibal's elephants before him, he must cross the snowy Alps. Based on a true story, Saramago's tale is an enchanting mix of fact, fable and fantasy.
When Jose 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.
Through boredom or through a spirit of contradiction, publisher’s proof-reader Raimundo Silva takes it upon himself to insert a negative into a sentence in a history book. The text now asserts that, in 1147, the king reconquered Lisbon from the Saracens without any assistance from the Crusaders. The effects of this minor act of insubordination are surprising. His relationship with his editor, the voluptuous Dr. Maria Sara, is changed and Silva finds himself penning a revised history. As he does, he discovers that not only the past but also the present can be written as romance. Around Silva’s simple act of altering a text, Saramago has constructed one of his most mind-stretching novels. The History of the Siege of Lisbon is written on a canvas broad enough to contain a bitter-sweet love-affair, an investigation into the writing of history, and a parable on life in Portugal under Salazar.
"Saramago juxtaposes an eminently readable narrative of work and
poverty, class and desire, knowledge and timelessness--one in which
God, too, as he faces Cain in the wake of Noah's Ark, emerges as
far more human than expected." --"San Francisco Chronicle"
A city is hit by an epidemic of "white blindness" which spares no
one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but
there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food
rations and raping 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. The stunningly powerful novel of man's will to survive
against all odds, by the winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for
The Lives of Things collects Jose Saramago's early experiments with the short story form, attesting to the young novelist's imaginative power and incomparable skill in elaborating the most extravagant fantasies. Combining bitter satire, outrageous parody and Kafkaesque hallucinations, these stories explore the horror and repression that paralyzed Portugal under the Salazar regime and pay tribute to human resilience in the face of injustice and institutionalized tyranny. Beautifully written and deeply unsettling, The Lives of Things illuminates the development of Saramago's prose and records the genesis of themes that resound throughout his novels.
José Saramago takes us on a thrilling literary journey through the land, history and culture of his native country.
From the misty mountains of the north to the southern seascape of the Algarve, the travels of Nobel Laureate José Saramago are a passionate rediscovery of his own land.
Embarking in the autumn of 1979, Saramago resolves to travel to Portugal, as well as through it. As his country emerges from an authoritarian dictatorship, he traverses his beloved homeland, neglecting its grand 'sights' in favour of Romanesque churches and cobweb-ridden chapels, determined to find belonging in the landscape which went on to inform his greatest works of fiction.
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.
Senhor Jose 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
Jose 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.
This deeply personal work, follows the changing fortunes of the Mau-Tempo family - poor, landless peasants not unlike the author's own grandparents. Saramago charts the lives of the family in Alentjo, southern Portugal, as national and international events rumble on in the background - the coming of the republic in Portugal, the First and Second World Wars, and an attempt on the dictator Salazar's life. Yet, nothing seriously impinges on the farm labourers' lives until the first stirrings of communism.
Cipriano Algor, an ageing potter, lives with his daughter and her husband in the shadow of the Centre, a nebulous, constantly expanding conglomerate that provides his livelihood - until it decrees that it is no longer interested in his humble wares. Together with his daughter, they craft a new line of small ceramic figurines and, to their bafflement, the Centre orders vast quantities. But once the figures are complete, the Centre recants: there is no market for them. Resigned to idleness Cipriano moves into the soulless megaplex, until late one night he comes across a horrifying secret in the bowels of the artificial city. The Cave is a harrowing, joyful masterpiece: an Orwellian nightmare, a family fable and an uplifting love story.
A delightful insight into the formation of an artist who would become one of the world's most respected writers.
Born in 1922 in the tiny Portuguese village of Azinhaga, José Saramago was only a baby when his family moved to a series of cramped lodgings in a working-class neighbourhood of Lisbon. Nevertheless, he would return to the village throughout his early life, its river and olive groves seeping deep into his memory.
Shifting between Azinhaga and Lisbon, this touching book is a mosaic of memories. Written with characteristic wit and honesty, Small Memories traces the formation of an artist always fascinated by language and who emerged, against all odds, as one of the world's most respected writers.
Provocative and lyrical, The Notebook records the last year in the life of Jose Saramago. In these pages, beginning on the eve of the 2008 US presidential election, he evokes life in his beloved city of Lisbon, revisits conversations with friends, and meditates on his favorite authors. Precise observations and moments of arresting significance are rendered with pointillist detail, and together demonstrate an acute understanding of our times. Characteristically critical and uncompromising, Saramago dissects the financial crisis, deplores Israel's bombardment of Gaza, traces the ongoing inquiry into the execution of the Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes on the London Underground, and charts the transition from the era of George W. Bush to that of Barack Obama. The Notebook is a unique journey into the personal and political world of one of the greatest writers of our time.
Senhor José is a minor official in a registry office. He lives alone and spends his days in the documentation of the bare essentials – birth, marriage and death – of the lives of people he doesn’t know. By chance he comes across a woman’s file, in which her date and place of birth are not recorded, and his ordered, restricted life is turned upside down. Determined to discover more about the woman, he breaches all the regulations which have previously ruled his life. His quest becomes an obsession and gives a new meaning to his life yet his attempt to play God with other peoples’ lives is destined to create new mysteries and complexities. In Senhor José, drawn from isolation into contact with the messy realities of human relationships, Saramago has created one of his most memorable characters and All the Names is one of his most subtle and engaging novels.
It is 1936, Salazar is in power in Portugal and Ricardo Reis is back in Lisbon again after 16 years as a doctor in Brazil. He checks into a waterfront hotel and begins to renew his acquaintance with the city, occasionally thinking vaguely of practising medicine again but more often amusing himself with poetic and philosophical musings. Ricardo Reis spends his time in the company of the poet Fernando Pessoa – who still wears the suit in which he was buried a few weeks earlier. Reis’ other companions are Marcenda, the girl with the paralysed hand, and his hotel chambermaid, who shares his bed. In Ricardo Reis, Saramago has created one of the most enigmatic characters in modern fiction, a man in touch with every facet of life at a moment in history when every certainty in civilised society is about to be scattered to the wind.
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