Winner of the Nobel prize for literature in 1998, Portuguese novelist José Saramago died last month. He was 87. He left a long list of novels--and books in other genres, too--as his legacy in spite of the fact that he didn’t start writing novels until he was in his fifties.
Library Journal recommended Blindness as an “excellent choice for a book-discussion group.” Publishers Weekly said The Cave is a “remarkably generous and eloquent novel” and that “Saramago [had] an extraordinary ability to make a complex narrative read like a simple parable.”
Baltasar and Blimunda
According to the New York Times Book Review, this national bestseller is a "brilliant...enchanting novel" of romance, deceit, religion, and magic set in eighteenth-century Portugal at the height of the Inquisition.
This spellbinding tale begins when an unnamed man, in an unnamed city is suddenly struck blind. In the days that follow, everyone he comes in contact with comes down with the mysterious condition. As the blindness spreads to epidemic proportions, the government responds by isolating the infected in an abandoned mental hospital where social conditions quickly deteriorate.
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 and apartments to which Cipriano delivers his wares. One day 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. But just as suddenly, the order is cancelled and the penniless three have to move from the village into the Center. When mysterious sound of digging emerge from beneath their apartment, Cipriano and Marçal investigate; what they find transforms the family’s life.
All the Names
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.