Friday, November 16, 2012

Happy Birthday, José

José Saramago, (that's a Portuguese name, not Spanish, so it's [ʒuˈzɛ sɐɾɐˈmaɣu] zho-ZEH sah-rah-MAH-goo) was born today in 1922, to family of landless peasants in the village of Anzihaga, Portugal. His books have been translated into at least 25 languages, and he's a Nobel laureate. His style is idiosyncratic, his themes humanity, individuality, commonality... I find him either brilliant or incomprehensible; some of his books I love (Death With Interruptions, The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reyes, The Stone Raft) and some I can't get past the first chapters...

He spent much of his life, and died - in 2010, in June -, on Lanzarote (one of the Spanish Canary Islands), because Portugal's conservative government would not allow Saramago's novel The Gospel According to Jesus Christ to compete for the European Literary Prize, arguing that it offended the Catholic community.

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