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Saramago, José

siege silva history

(Portuguese, 1922– )

Saramago's wide-ranging, meditative novels are powerful, often philosophical explorations of human nature and of society. Begin with Blindness (1995) which, opening with a description of a man abruptly losing his sight as a traffic light changes from red, is an allegorical portrait of a city struck by a growing epidemic. Chaos, distrust, and violence also spread as civilization gradually disintegrates. Move on to The History of the Siege of Lisbon (1989), where Raimundo Silva, a proofreader, challenges the veracity of a written account of the siege, illicitly altering the text. The novel raises questions about truth, history, and facts as the new interpretation Silva goes on to write is juxtaposed with his own story when he embarks upon a relationship with his editor. Saramago was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998.

Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, William Golding  SR

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