Nobelprize.org
Lists of Nobel Prizes and Laureates

Saramago

Book Tips - José Saramago

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1998 was awarded to José Saramago "who with parables sustained by imagination, compassion and irony continually enables us once again to apprehend an elusory reality".

Read more about the Nobel Prize in Literature 1998

Tell us about your favorite book!

More book tips

All the Names (Todos os nomes)

It is a haunting novel which reveals as much about the individual and his every day worries as about society as a whole.
/Irina-Elena Popescu, Germany
This masterpiece is the perfect combination between a poetic vision of love and a perfect understanding of the human's isolation nowadays.
/José Ortiz, Colombia
It is fantastic.
/Sali, Iran
The book is a powerful recognition of human goodness.
/Matt, United States
I could see it as the basic idea for a film - that all the information does not equal the reality of a person.
/Michael Laidlaw, Canada
'All the Names' shows how one moment, one mistake can be so significant that it will completely change you. Senhor Jose has so many lives, so many stories at his fingertips, and once he starts looking into only one of them he finally experiences something exciting like adventure and friendship in his life.
/Clara, Germany
It's a book full of names and full of people; because meeting people and staying in touch is a thing we are really needing to do nowadays. I love this book because it's very well written and expresses what I feel too: to really know people is an objective for life.
/Andre, Portugal
Because it is an interesting book and I liked it so much.
/Noelia, Spain

Baltasar and Blimunda (Memorial do convento)

It's a fantastic painting of inquisition times in Portugal. It's the magic realism in Europe.
/António Caroço, Portugal
It is so beautiful. I like very much old music (Barock, Renaissance ...) and in this book there is music by Scarlatti. In the very beginning this book took me as a flood, I can only swim with it. The language is very beautiful, I am fond of the persons in this book. Later I have read all Saramago's book translated in Finnish and I love them all.
/Orvokki Tanttu, Finland
A fantastic portrait of Catholicism decadence in Portuguese Empire of the 16th Century.
/António Caroço, Portugal
Saramago uses a poetic language, innovating Portuguese narrative. His historic description gives us a vision of Portugal in the XVIII century, and a strong criticism, not only of the ancient society, but also of the actual national problems.
/Daniel, Portugal
I liked this book because it combines a love story with history. The monastery being built by the workers and the workers being mistreated ... And then there is Blimunda and Baltazar who love each other. I think it is a very interesting book and if you have the opportunity to read it, just do it!
/Rita, Portugal
I have already read some books of different authors that are winner of the Nobel prize such as Hemingway, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Camus or Steinbeck, but this book gave me the same magic and a new way of how to see things in a different way. Thank you Jose Saramago. The book is hard to read but in the end it's amazing.
/Marco Gomes, Ireland
Perfect book! Love the story, love the imagination ... Just perfect!
/John, United States
The writing style, which is able to ground some of the fantastical ideas and scenes that Saramago presents. He does not flinch from the complexity of human nature, or the circumstances of his characters, rather he embraces it. And revels in it. He presents a holistic perspective. The narration is the dominant force of his writing.
/Lydia Booz, United States
I like what he writes and the story impressed me.
/Teresa, Portugal
I like it because it is a metafora of the life.
/Luís Martini, Brazil
I like it, because in this book Saramago talks about the Portuguese history.
/Daniela, Portugal
A terrible force in the struggle to find beauty and love, through the use of despaired cynicism and sarcasm, in a falling world.
/Frederick Dorsan, Canada
It is a wonderful story of love between a special man and his gifted loved one and their journey through the human consciousness.
/Emil Nilsson, Sweden

Blindness (Ensaio sobre a cegueira)

For its originality and dramatic nature.
/Adina Gogu, Romania
I like this novel because one can not understand the moral of the story to the time he reach the last page of the book! It is amazing! In the overall time of reading of the story, a strong gravity, attract you to continue for reading and at the final, you like to read the book, again and again ...
/Tahoura Ahsani, Iran
It's a lucid and life changing tale, at times brutal, at times tender but always honest, of humanity at its extreme and what really matters to when society fails.
/Sara Piteira, United Kingdom
The prose, the events, the ability to single out how humans fall apart victims of their own selfishness.
/Henry F., Colombia
It is a mirror of our decaying community. Humanity.
/Kamaruddin, India
I've really enjoyed reading this book because of Saramago's amazing ability to analyzing human's behaviour, reasoning and feeling, and, based on it, the production of an awesome novel as a result of an extraordinary well-made effort for imagine a world without eyes ... At least, I can't imagine a different blind humanity than what Saramago wrote.
/Manuel Esteaban Arias, Colombia
The power of the human race, the mind, to assimilate and persevere among confusion demoralization and depredation.
/JP, United States
This book is really amazing, is the form explaining the scary and chaos that blindness produced, the quality of words are great!
/Fatima, Mexico
The first time I heard about the book was in a World Literature class. We were supposed to make an essay an discuss about any book and I asked my teacher ("sensei" would be more appropriate) for a recommendation. Among others "Blindness" was on the options. I picked Saramago's only because I knew he was a Nobel prize winner. It was such an eye-opener. It portraits a vast range of human behaviour from extreme misery to perpetual compassion. By far is one of the most thrilling books I have ever read. FANTASTIC! "I don't think we did go blind, I think we are blind, Blind but seeing, Blind people who can see, but do not see." (Creo que no nos quedamos ciegos, creo que estamos ciegos, Ciegos que ven, ciegos que, viendo, no ven)
/Malola, Ecuador
Best novel ever!
/Carlos, Canada
I don't get absorbed by books. This one was an exception.
/Julia, Ukraine
Blindness is well-written and makes you wonder about our present day society. Is it possible for mankind to create a new woman and a new man? Is there hope for the future of mankind? Blindness makes you wonder.
/Debra Brooks, United States
Thought provoking, challenges our ideas of the self and of our delicate social structure. At times compelling and at its best utterly moving. Vivid and direct, but always beautiful.
/Alex, United Kingdom
I love this novel because for the first moment I started reading it, it captured me completely through the end. Also because it shows that all the human beings are naturally cruel, heartless and incredible selfish in extreme situations, so it teaches us a lesson about that. This novel is so unbelievable well written that the fact that it is a bit extensive is not important because it entertain you to the end, and when you finish reading it you feel like you learn so much and that you will remember this novel forever.
/Estefania Larrosa, Venezuela
An excellent book of universal validity from one, in my opinion of the greatest writers of the 20th century. It gives the specific and deep insight on the ethical crises of Western Civilization and humanity in general. It can be also read as a strong, unusual and mindful presentation of man's existential expose. A true literary masterpiece written very sharply and intelligently! I think that every educated person from every continent in the world, every cultural heritage should read this book, so I warmly recommend it!
/Željko, Croatia
How to scan the human soul, the social environment, giving a universal character ... ps: you have to award the Nobel Prize for Literature to a Brazilian writer ...
/Thomas, Brazil
Because of theme and writer's style. Very impressive novel.
/Elif Murat, Turkey
Every great story has no boundaries, age, sex, nothing - oh, the dark blindness.
/Rahul.G. Nair, India
It is a festival of fiction in which the author takes us to a world of whiteness which makes us feel that we live in a milky white world and yet don't understand that we are blind indeed.
/Subhro, India
Because Saramago is natural-born storyteller and has an unsurpassed ability in the clever use of words. And last, but not least, he writes in my native tongue, Portuguese.
/Antonio Pereira, Brazil
I loved the fact that there were no actual names given to the characters for instance "the Dr's wife, the girl with dark glasses." I love the way that the narrator inserts thoughts into the text. Although some people would say it is painful to read but that's what I loved about it. It painted a very vivid picture in my mind and the picture remains with me even today.
/Josh Toone, United States
I really enjoyed this book because, in my opinion, it is a very nice metaphora. Blindness is, in fact, the reflection of what many people live everyday: difficult circumstances and indifference. However, as the book also indicates, there is always a way to start again, to continue walking.
/Silvia Quinte, Peru
t is earthy and haunting. I would not recommend it for people prior to college because it is graphic. But it is amazing.
/Jennifer, United States
It's an amazing book. Undoubtedly my favourite one. It changes the way you feel and think about life and people.
/Maria Emilia, Argentina
The best book I ever read. The style of prose and the in-dept almost prophetic look on life as it is has left a deep mark on the way I look at life. After reading this one every new day will be different than before.
/Leo, Netherlands
I liked it because it provoked my deepest fears of my potential behavior in the world that suddenly goes blind. It made me ask questions how I would react in those humiliating circumstances where survival instinct is dominant. Would my sweet Self that I know now become a selfish and unsophisticated human because of that I am locked up in a ward where everyone is blind, hungry and living without hope?
/Tatjana, Serbia & Montenegro
An incredibly clever plot to show how people act in extreme situations.
/Nadia Kamolz, Germany
I think that 'Blindness' is a great book; you could never guess what would happen next. I really liked the way that he was able to keep names, dates, and places anonymous, using adjectives rather than nouns to identify the characters. The science fiction twist he put in the story made his story the more interesting to read. Saramago describes this contagious blindness to be white and milky rather than the darkness that we portray it to be. This story can teach us that we can do things far beyond what we think we're capable of.
/Abel, United States
A remarkable use of a human condition as metaphor; beautiful simple direct style coupled with strong characters set against a faceless, nameless power structure, Saramago's work is a wonderful display of the reality of the little things that mkae us truly human, and so rise above ourselves.
/Brandy Bartosh, United States
This book shows what the human being is capable of doing to save his/her life. Also it reflects all the misery that can exist inside a person. It is impossible to stop reading it after it caught your attention.
/Jose R. Perez, Colombia
Well, it's one of the best books of the latter 20th century.
/E. Welch, United States
If Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 'Love in the Time of Cholera' is a book ALL lovers MUST read, then Jose Saramago's 'Blindness' is a book ALL living things MUST read. There are comments that say that this book is "one that is unafraid to face all of the horrors of the century", and "a vivid evocation of the horrors of the twentieth century". They are diminishing this work. This does not just concern the 20th century, but it covers the time since any form of life was born. I wonder why no director/producer has made an attempt to make this into a movie yet. It will be an instant winner at any film festival. This novel is too grand to deserve any comment by readers. I am very disappointed that there are actually readers who could not follow the prose and dialogue. Wouldn't Gao Xingjian's 'Soul Mountain' and 'One Man's Bible' become utter rubbish in this case? [Please do not read further if you have not read this book.] I couldn't quite understand though why the author used the church and its images in the finale. Is this implying that Christianity, or rather religion, is a cause for our 'blindness'?
/Teo Chee Tat, Singapore
It made me appreciate life more and all the things that surround us to make our life easier. Metaphorically, It also shows how blind humans are right now, and how they might not learn from their mistakes (history shows it) but in the book there is a light hope ... I just could not stop reading.
/Ruth, Ecuador
It's a great intellectual and humanitary grow!
/Monique Brito, Brazil
This book is a very nice history that shows us that human beings can easily be manipulated. Suddenly, everybody becomes blind, in this world a person who has eyes is king!
/Marcos Paulo Salavracos, Brazil
In Portuguese (I don't know if in English too) we have a saying: In a land where there are only blind people, the one who has an eye is the king. Saramago shows in his book that we are wrong: the one who has an eye is a slave! Read it and you will know why ... It is frightening and very symbolic, a classic and yet so prosaic - really worth a Nobel Prize! Recommended for those who enjoy thrilling and thought-provoking books.
/Nicolle Queiroz, Brazil
His style is grateful. He shows that the most people are greedy and dumb. But there are also some people, who keep their human qualities.
/Sven Ullmann, Switzerland
Because it tells you who low a human being can go. It's a real life lesson ...
/Carlos Serra, Portugal
Saramago's beautiful, lyrical prose kept me reading for hours. This story is so hauntingly possible ... a true masterpiece!
/Jeremy, United States
It takes you into a city in which you can see the world today. The first blind person is called "The man who became blind at first" and the other people do not have names either. It is in such a situation which murder, rape and massacre are done. You can easily conclude that this is our own world. In every line of the novel, the beauty of narration forces you to wide open your eyes and never put the book away.
/Soroosh, Iran

Cain (Caim)

This book makes us meditate about other vision of history and relationship of men and God, more humanistic.
/Roger Valerio, Nicaragua

Death with Interruptions (As intermitências da morte)

Saramago gave meaning to every subject he wrote about it, in the way that no one else can do.
/Rekawt Barzanji, United States
Humor, well written, interesting, stimulates thinking.
/Jose Perez, United States
It was an interesting take on an institution that was depended upon in order to complete the circle of life
/Timothy Jones, United States
I liked tho whole idea of the dead being in love and stop working. And the disaster that could come out of that.
/Estefania Morales, Mexico
Brilliantly written and deeply moving is this man's meditations on death. Stylistically he goes farther than Beckett or Joyce not even giving the reader paragraphs (let alone quotation marks) to determine who is speaking. The idea of personifying death into something that can be fallen in love with is beautiful.
/Sam Vangsness, United States

Levantado do Chão

Revolutionary writing in revolutionary times: a book about extreme poverty and supreme dignity, about fighting for freedom and never betraying your ideals. The gripping beauty of those first pages, and the music of it all. Nobody had ever dared to write like this in my mother tongue - or in any other language, for that matter. And ... let's get ready for the next great Portuguese-speaking writer: Mia Couto, the Magician!
/Ana, Belgium

Quasi Objects (Objecto quase)

Great deconstruction of Portuguese language, chosen themes for each short story in the borderline of reality, fiction and "what if".
/João Antonio Bomfim, Brazil

Seeing (Ensaio sobre a Lucidez)

'Seeing' is the most amazing story of today's world. Though we see it as the progressive democracy, world is actually ruled by autocrats. Through all this human moment comes through.
/Chandini Santosh, India

Skylight (Claraboya)

It reveals the origins of Saramago's writing; is funny and direct but profound ad the same time.
/Roberto Olavarrieta Marenco, Mexico

The Cave (A caverna)

llustrates the near future.
/Jose Ribas, Portugal
It is the most amazing reflection of the flow of actual dialogue without punctuation. It is so masterfully written that you know who is speaking without their being identified other than by what they say. It is an allegory with warm relationships and a wonderful dog.
/Kate Jackson, United States
This story could take place anywhere. Society is slowly driven into a dictatorship of consumism. A potter and his family are struggling for survival, as their ceramic artifacts are being replaced by cheaper machine made plastic objects. The potter goes out of business and has no other choice than to move with his daughter and his son in law to the city, where archaeologists discover a cave similar to the one of Plato.
/Sérgio Rato Cordeiro, Portugal
Beautiful language, surreal experiences, mind-opening ending.
/Denise Baldrick, United States
It's a very sensitive and human description of our absurd economic system.
/Jairo Jimenez, Colombia

The Duplicated Man (El hombre duplicado)

This book is very attractive to the reader because the story is very interesting. I think that it is a book like the films of Hitchcock. All his books are interesting but this is truly wonderful!
/Fernando Miguel Santos, Portugal

The Gospel According to Jesus Christ (O evangelho segundo Jesus Cristo)

It's an amazing book in the original language of the author. If it's translated, you'll not get the subtle jokes ... If you can read Portuguese, read this book. Now.
/Jaime, Portugal
Because it is a masterpiece of modern literature.
/Elton Uliana, United Kingdom
The life of Jesus as nobody has ever had the courage to describe. A religious book, despite Saramago himself, that the catholic Church didn't understand or didn't wanted to ... I like imagine Jesus as Saramago did.
/Claudia Caranzano, Italy
It's poetic prose, interesting perspective of Jesus as more man than Messiah, the cold malice of power-hunger and the questionable justification of religion-caused conflicts all combine to form a novel of epic scope and grand socio-religious criticisms.
/Chris, United States
Because whit a great and relaxed language, Saramago explores the forbidden life of our savior, and in this book, he becomes only a man, and even the same God becomes a man like any man, so, this is a very realistic novel and I loved it when I read it.
/Sergio Alejandro Torres, Colombia
Saramago questions everything about Christianity and god and comes up with this revelation about Christ - being shunted from god to devil to serve their purposes - of propagating religion come what may. Christ tries to do a last minute twist to the tale by rebelling against god. His last words -'Men, Forgive Him. He knows not what He has done'. It sums up the essence of the novel.
/Chandini Santosh, India
Because it's the human version of the most known story in the world. His narration is magnificent - it's a book that I think about very often.
/Elsa Gavriil, Greece
I liked both books very much because José Saramago use to write things as life is. I really would like that the story of Jesus could be as the author suppose in his book. Also in many of his books you could see how life is and how all the people is the same even when this is part of the great imagination of Saramago you could see any people in the world reflected in his books.
/Elizabeth Garay, Mexico
It shows the human side of Jesus, and his life in a new way.
/Hugo Vera, Panama
It is not just the way it is written. It is not only the story depicted on it. It is the delicate yet overwhelming contents of this wonderful piece of literature. The human side of the so-called God.
/Jesus Salazar, Mexico
I am a Catholic and I have heard a lot of bad things about this book so I naturally decided to read it ... And I am proud of my choice because this book is a masterpiece! I think it is, at first, a fable about our relations with God: the fear, the love, the refusal, the powerless of humans ... but it's mainly a fable about our relations about the authority in every way. I love this novel too because I've understood that we can do a lot of pain just for an ideal (an ideal of love for example) and that we have to accept our human condition to elevate ourselves to holiness like Jesus has done in the book. Thank you Mr. Saramago! Thank you Mr Saramago!
/Bertrand, Belgium

The History of the Siege of Lisbon (História do cerco de Lisboa)

The author's speech is like a streaming river, sensitive, noble, describing, in an emotional way of caring for his protagonists. Once I had a terrible journey to Lisbon and met unkind persons and was involved in unpleasant situations; this book gave me back my hope and affection to the city and its people.
/Uwe Nebe, Germany

The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis (O ano da morte de Ricardo Reis)

Occasionally this happened to be my first book I read in Portuguese. Imaginative, allusive. Carries the mind toward unpredictably amusing directions.
/Martti Rohusaar, Estonia
The several meetings of Ricardo Ries and his creator, Fernando Pessoa, in a town as beautiful as Lisbon in the 30's!
/Borges, Portugal
This man is really a genius for all mankind.
/Prof. Paulo R. Sousa, Brazil
Share this:
To cite this page
MLA style: "Book Tips - Visitors Recommend". Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 23 Oct 2014. <http://www.nobelprize.org/educational/literature/books/comments.php?id=675&nextid=637&name=Saramago+Jos%E9>

Recommended:

On 27 November 1895 Alfred Nobel signed his last will in Paris.

 

Try to save some patients and learn about human blood types!

 

Discover the 2012 awarded research on stem cells and cell signalling.