Sunday, 26 October 2014

José Saramago: some pictures

I've been too busy, not lazy, to write more often this month; but in an effort to keep some activity around here, I found just the short, quick and easy thing to post. Today I returned home with a new book from a second-hand bookshop. It's called Ler Saramago: o romance, by Beatriz Berrini, a Brazilian literary scholar, and it's a collection of essays on the great novelist; it was published in August 1998, just months before his receiving the Nobel Prize. Strangely enough the book is now out of print, which only makes me more excited for owning a copy.

One of the coolest bits about it is a series of photographs at the end of him hanging around with other writers; I thought you'd like to have a look at them. The first one shows Saramago with Israeli novelist Amos Oz and their Brazilian editor, Luiz Schwarcz. Oz is the short one:

This is him with Italian playwright and Nobel Prizer recipient Dario Fo. When Fo received it in 1997, the next day he phone Saramago to apologize for "stealing" his prize. That's the kind of good humour and generosity I always associate with Fo:

Here he's with two of his pet dogs, Camões and Pepe, stray dogs he adopted on the Lanzarote island. Saramago is a huge dog lover, and they show up in several of his novels:

This one shows him with Portuguese poet Eugénio de Andrade and Spanish poet Rafael Alberti:

This one everyone knows who he is; that's Gabriel García Márquez with his wife, Mercedes:

The following picture was taken in England, when Saramago accepted an honoris causa from Manchester University. This picture, for reasons I can't easily explain, is the most moving to me. The man next to him is the heroic Giovanni Pontiero, his long-time British translator, who kept on translating Blindness even as he himself was dying from an illness which was causing him blindness. Said death occurred February 10, 1996, his birthday:

And these are Josefa da Conceição and Jerónimo Melrinho, his grandparents and the most important people in his life. Saramago's Nobel Prize acceptance speech was about Jerónimo, whom he described as the wisest man he ever knew, even though he was an illiterate pig farmer:

And here's Saramago with the great, but too internationally unknown, Spanish novelist Gonzalo Torrente Ballester:

And Saramago with famous Brazilian novelist Jorge Amado:

Here's Amado and Torrente Ballester again, talking to Brazilian novelist Nélida Piñon, whereas Saramago is entertaining Salman Rushdie:

And finally Saramago with Susan Sontag, who's doing well after her adventure with Fantomas:

Nope, there was no point to any of this.


  1. Thanks for posting this. Those photographs are really neat.

    I really like the one with Giovanni Pontiero too.