Adeus, Saramago

José Saramago (1922-2010)

Portuguese writer José Saramago died today at the age of 87. He gained international acclaim for novels such as  Ensaio sobre a cegueira (Blindness), Intermitências da morte (Death at Intervals), and Memorial do convento (Baltasar and Blimunda).  In 1998, he was the first Portuguese-language writer to win the Nobel Prize in literature. Though he wrote his first novel at 23, it wasn’t until he was in his 50s that we was able to dedicate himself full-time to fiction. His prose is described as “combining surrealist experimentation with a kind of sardonic peasant pragmatism.” The UC Berkeley Library has more than 92 works by Saramago in the original and in various translations as well as dozens of critical and biographical works all discoverable through OskiCat. A more complete obituary is available on the New York Times site and an announcement in both Spanish and Portuguese on the José Saramago Foundation web site where he blogged up until a few months before his death on world events, philosophy, writing – much of which was published last year as a book titled O Caderno (The Notebook). Diário de Noticías, the Lisbon newspaper where Saramago worked as a journalist early in his career, has also compiled a full tribute titled “Morrer é? simplesmente natural” (To die is? simply natural).