Jose Saramago

Raised From the Ground

A multi-generational family saga that paints a sweeping portrait of modern Portuguese political history. Finally available in English, Raised from the Ground is Saramago’s most deeply personal novel, the book in which he found the signature style and voice that distinguishes all of his brilliant work.

Manual of Painting & Calligraphy

An early example of Saramago's mastery, this novel takes us into the last days of Salazar's dictatorship when a second-rate artist is commissioned by a wealthy client to paint a portrait and the political and intellectual struggles that ensue.


Saramago's last novel: a radical re-telling of the biblical story of Cain and Abel.

“Saramago juxtaposes an eminently readable narrative of work and poverty, class and desire, knowledge and timelessness—one in which God, too, as he faces Cain in the wake of Noah's Ark, emerges as far more human than expected.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Saramago transforms familiar stories boldly, but with an intricate respect for their power and for the mysterious power of storytelling itself. Far from merely inverting the biblical tales or turning them inside out, he folds and refolds them in a prismatic, shadowly light.” —Robert Pinsky, New York Times Book Review

Small Memories

This posthumous memoir of childhood, written with characteristic wit and honesty, traces the formation of an individual into an artist who emerged against all odds as one of the world's most respected writers.

“Small Memories is a... nourishing last gift from a great writer.” —Washington Post

The Collected Novels of José Saramago

Introduction by Ursula Le Guin
Translated by Margaret Jull Costa and Giovanni Pontiero

This collection, available exclusively in e-book form, brings together the twelve novels (and one novella) of the great Portuguese writer José Saramago, with an introductory essay by Ursula Le Guin. From Saramago’s early work, like the enchanting Baltasar and Blimunda and the controversial Gospel According to Jesus Christ, through his masterpiece Blindness and its sequel Seeing, to his later fables of politics, chance, history, and love, like All the Names and Death with Interruptions, this volume showcases the range and depth of Saramago’s career, his inimitable narrative voice, and his vast reserves of invention, humor, and understanding.
Included in this collection:
Baltasar and Blimunda (1987)
The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis (1991)
The Gospel According to Jesus Christ (1994)
The Stone Raft (1995)
The History of the Siege of Lisbon (1997)
Blindness (1998) The Tale of the Unknown Island (1999)
All the Names (2000)
The Cave (2002)
The Double (2004)
Seeing (2006)
Death with Interruptions (2008)
The Elephant’s Journey (2010)

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The Elephant’s Journey

In 1551, King João III of Portugal gave Archduke Maximilian an unusual wedding present: an elephant named Solomon. The elephant’s journey from Lisbon to Vienna was witnessed and remarked upon by scholars, historians, and ordinary people. Out of this material, José Saramago has spun a novel already heralded as “a triumph of language, imagination, and humor” (El País). The Elephant’s Journey is a delightful, witty tale of friendship and adventure.
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“This is a shattering work by a literary master.” –The Boston Globe

“This is an important book, one that is unafraid to face all of the horrors of the century.” –Washington Post

“Saramago is the most tender of writers . . . with a clear-eyed and compassionate acknowledgment of things as they are, and a quality that can only be termed wisdom. We should be grateful when it is handed to us in such generous measures.” –The New York Times Book Review

View the trailer for the 2008 film adaptation of Blindness here.

Death with Interruptions

“How can the most tender relationship that Saramago has ever written involve death as a nervous lover? This is a story that can’t possibly work or affect us, but it does, deeply, sweetly. It’s a novel to die for.” –Ron Charles, Washington Post Book World

“The range of Saramago’s satire seems limitless, but so does his power to humanize.” –Alan Cheuse,

Death with Interruptions is [Saramago’s] duomo, his Sistine Chapel . . . In other words, one writer’s petition against mortality . . . [A] strange, gorgeous novel.” –Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times

The Double

“In varying proportions [Saramago] is melancholy, funny, scary and socially enraged. Such elements have rarely worked better together than in The Double. It’s tempting to think of it as his masterpiece. Certainly it is one of two or three, the allegory here not so tumultuously grand as in others, but more perfectly maneuvered.” –The New York Times

“Don’t be daunted by Saramago’s famous 18-page paragraphs and page-long sentences. Oh, all right, be a little daunted.” –Entertainment Weekly

“Our impression is of a writer, like Faulkner, so confident of his resources and ultimate destination that he can bring any impossibility to life by hurling words at it. Saramago has a questing and well-stocked mind, amiably engaged in the patient investigation of human nature.” –John Updike, The New Yorker

The Cave

“The writing is a web that draws you in and works on you, but webs function as a whole, not in pieces. As with Proust, to be drawn into a Saramago sentence is to be drawn into a world that takes shape out of a maze . . . His human voices wake us and we live.” –The New York Times Book Review

“Saramago is arguably the greatest writer of our time . . . He has the power to throw a dazzling flash of lightning on his subjects, an eerily and impossibly prolonged moment of clarity that illuminates details beyond the power of sunshine to reveal . . . And it would be wrong to reduce a genuinely brilliant novel to the level of a simple dog story, but oh, what a wonderful dog!” –Chicago Tribune

All The Names

“A lovely example of late mastery, one of those happy instances in which an older artist demonstrates his genius not by some elaborate architecture or stylistic innovation but instead by an almost nonchalant simplicity and directness . . . Sometimes the Swedish Academy really does know what it’s doing.” –The Washington Post Book World

“Reading the Portuguese writer José Saramago, one quickly senses the presence of a master.” –The Christian Science Monitor

“A psychological, even metaphysical thriller that will keep you turning the pages in spite of yourself, and with growing alarm and alacrity . . . In the case of the Portuguese writer José Saramago, the Nobel Committee got it right for once.” –The Seattle Times

“Our impression is of a writer, like Faulkner, so confident of his resources and ultimate destination that he can bring any impossibility to life by hurling words at it.”
–John Updike, The New Yorker

“Saramago is the most tender of writers…with a clear-eyed and compassionate acknowledgment of things as they are, and a quality that can only be termed wisdom.”
The New York Times

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“In 1947, the year of the birth of my only child, Violante, I published my first book, a novel I myself entitled The Widow, but which for editorial reasons appeared as The Land of Sin. I wrote another novel, The Skylight, still unpublished, and started another one, but did not get past the first few pages: its title was to be Honey and Gall, or maybe Louis, son of Tadeus... The matter was settled when I abandoned the project: it was becoming quite clear to me that I had nothing worthwhile to say. For 19 years, till 1966, when I got to publish Possible Poems, I was absent from the Portuguese literary scene, where few people can have noticed my absence.”
–José Saramago, from his autobiography

Read more of Saramago’s autobiography on the Nobel Prize’s web site.

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