One hundred years after his birth, the work of the Portuguese Nobel Prize winner José Saramago is still “alive” and is “necessary”, maintains his widow.
One hundred years after his birth, the work of the Portuguese Nobel Prize winner José Saramago is still “alive” and is “necessary”maintains his widow, the Spanish writer and journalist pillar of the river who claims that some of his books seem like a portrait of contemporary events such as the pandemic or war.
In an interview for the commemoration of the author’s centenary, From the river he has no doubts: “There are works by José Saramago that seem to be portraying this moment”, because, “after all, he is a totally contemporary writer”.
Saramago was born on November 16, 1922 in Azinhaga, in Portugal, and went down in history as the only Portuguese Nobel Prize winner for Literature to date, with works such as convent memorial (1982), The Gospel according to Jesus Christ (1991), The year of the death of Ricardo Reis (1984) or Essay on blindness (nineteen ninety five).
Of the latter it could be said, assures his widow, that “it is brutally reflecting the pandemic” of the coronavirus, despite the fact that it occurred 25 years after the publication of the novel: “José Saramago used to say: ‘We seem blind that, seeing, we do not see’.
But it is not the only current event for which lessons can be drawn from the words that the Portuguese author wrote decades ago, who died in 2010.
Saramago also spoke of the war.
“In Halberds – the novel he was working on when he died, of which three chapters were published in 2014 – said: ‘If there is a weapons factory, there will be a conflict factory. So don’t worry, there will be conflicts because you have to consume a lot of weapons,'” he says. From the river.
For this reason, the work of Saramago “It is not only current, as he would say, but necessary.”
“Publishing companies should not be very stupid when they continue to republish, in schools they continue to study, they continue to read complete works”, sums up the Spanish journalist, who lived with him the last decades of his life.
But how do today’s teenagers approach reading a Nobel work?
“What I would have to tell them is ‘don’t be afraid’. José, writers don’t bite. Photographers don’t bite either. Art doesn’t bite,” he defends. From the riverwhich ensures that students “already know that intelligence is used to move through life”.
Saramago is also still very much alive in bookstores and complete editions of his works, with his own design, have just been published in many countries.
In Portugal an illustrated edition of The elephant’s journey.
“It is a beautiful and fortunately alive work”, sums up the translator, who considers that a single message cannot be extracted from the legacy he left behind.
“I dare not answer you, because each reader has his own idea, has his own author. Each reader has his work,” he says.
The legacy left by the Portuguese author is also reflected in initiatives such as the Literary Award Jose Saramagoa tribute that recognizes young writers – up to 40 years old – in the Portuguese language.
The last award was given to the Brazilian Rafael Gallo for ghost dor (Phantom Pain) in the Great Auditorium of the Cultural Center of Belém, the same room where Portugal received and honored Saramago in 1998 for his Nobel Prize in Literature.
pillar of the river present at the ceremony, highlights the importance of this type of recognition for new authors. “They’re building their life and they’re building us readers. It’s mutual. They build and help us build ourselves,” she says.
Portugal commemorates this Wednesday the centenary of the birth of Saramago with an extensive program of activitieswhich begins with readings of fragments of his novels in a hundred schools throughout the country.
At the headquarters of its Foundation, in Lisbon, it will be read in its entirety The Little Memories and there will be guided tours and musical moments; a tree will be planted in his hometown, Azinhaga, and the opera Blimunda will premiere at the São Carlos Theater in the Portuguese capital.
EFE. From Lisbon
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Pilar del Río: “There are works by Saramago that seem to portray this moment”